PBS/League of Women voters scraps debates because GOP candidates are no-showsby Dara Kam | October 13th, 2010
The League of Women Voters and PBS canceled debates between the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidates because GOP candidates Marco Rubio and Rick Scott refused to participate.
The League’s president Deidre MacNab said the debate, scheduled for Oct. 14, would have been the only one to reach all television viewers throughout the state.
The League could not get Gov. Charlie Crist, the independent U.S. Senate candidate, to confirm to appear either, MacNab said, meaning only U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democrat in the three-way U.S. Senate race, had agreed to show up.
PBS The NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff had agreed to moderate the debate.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott has agreed to debate Democrat contender Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink on Wednesday at Nova Southeastern University and on Oct. 25 in Tampa. The U.S. Senate debates will take place the night before both gubernatorial debates.
Scott also has refused to meet with editorial boards throughout the state, setting a new precedent for statewide candidates.
“I think it’s very disheartening,” MacNab said. “We have one of the highest unemployment rates, one of the highest mortgage default rates and one of the highest number of uninsured citizens in the nation. It’s really unconscionable when voters are forced to make their decisions on sound bites and commercials.”
Democrats in both races and the Florida Cabinet races have complained that their GOP opponents won’t agree to the public debates.