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Fan in Florida Gubernatorial Debate Sparks a Spat Between Crist, Scott

Image: Fan in Florida Gubernatorial Debate Sparks a Spat Between Crist, Scott
Former Governor Charlie Crist, left shakes hands with Florida Governor Rick Scott, right at the debate at Broward College in Davie, Florida, October 15, 2014. (Gary I Rothstein/UPI/Landov)  

By    |   Thursday, 16 Oct 2014 01:57 PM

A small fan had a big impact on the start of the Florida gubernatorial debate between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his Democratic challenger, former governor Charlie Crist, this week, resulting in a six-minute standoff on live television.

The Wednesday night debate at Broward College kicked off with an empty stage as moderator Elliot Rodriguez, of CBS Miami, made the announcement that both candidates were refusing to come out. Crist, the former Republican turned Democrat, then appeared, but there was no sign of Scott.

"Let me explain what this is all about," Rodriguez told the audience. "Governor Crist has asked to have a fan, a small fan, placed underneath his podium. The rules of the debate that I was shown by the Scott campaign say that there should be no fan. Somehow there is a fan there, and for that reason, ladies and gentlemen, I am being told that Governor Scott will not join us for this debate."

Scott and his campaign reportedly cited a debate rule that forbids the use of electronics on stage, Fox News reported.

"Are we really going to debate about a fan?" Crist asked from the stage. "Or are we going to talk about education, and the environment and the future of our state? . . . I mean, really."

Scott eventually took the stage for an intense, hour-long debate. His camp later denied the fan story, saying that Scott "never refused to take the stage" and was under the impression that Crist was held up in an emergency meeting with debate organizers over his "precious fan," according to Fox News.

Debate organizers, Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association, did say in the end that Crist's fan violated the rules. They also said the former governor taking the stage alone was a misstep as well.

"Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association did not anticipate or plan for the possibility that a candidate would not honor the debate rules," organizers said in a statement, according to the Miami Herald. "In retrospect, the debate partners should have been better prepared for this possibility. In addition, we regret that one candidate was allowed to take the stage and allowed to talk before the fan issue was resolved."

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A small fan had a big impact on the start of the Florida gubernatorial debate between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his Democratic challenger, former governor Charlie Crist, this week, resulting in a six-minute standoff on live television.
fan, florida, gubernatorial, debate
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2014-57-16
Thursday, 16 Oct 2014 01:57 PM
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