ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 have announced a change to their co-sponsored mayoral debate.
"Due to security concerns, the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 are changing the format of our July 25 mayoral debate to ensure that it is a safe and productive event," Times spokeswoman Sherri Day said in a statement Thursday, three days after disruption by protesters cut short a candidate forum.
"The debate will be invitation-only, with tickets going to the campaigns of the participating candidates and event sponsors. Our goal is to create an environment that is free of disruption and conducive to the exchange of information between the two leading candidates."
The hour-long debate between current Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Palladium theater. The moderators will be Times Political Editor Adam C. Smith and Bay News 9 anchor Holly Gregory. It will be broadcast live on Bay News 9 and online at tampabay.com.