It’s not yet certain who will be on the stage, but Republican and Democratic hopefuls for governor can now expect to debate their primary opponents under television lights just weeks before party voters choose who will be on their ballots in the general election.
The Children’s Movement of Florida and the Florida Press Association announced Wednesday they will hold televised Republican and Democratic primary debates for the 2018 governor’s race on Aug. 1 and 2, less than a month before the Aug. 28 primary.
Both debates will be produced by South Florida CBS station WFOR/Channel 4 and will be held at the University of Miami’s Maurice Gusman Concert Hall in front of a live studio audience of 600, the groups said. The debates will air from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern on the state’s 10 major media markets, from Miami to Pensacola.
Qualifying criteria for the debates have not yet been released, but former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum have jockeyed in the polls to lead the primary race for the Democratic nomination. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Congressman Ron DeSantis are grappling for the top slot on the Republican side, though House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who has not declared his candidacy, is mulling a run as well.