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Florida Governor Debate: Electric Fan Disrupts Second Debate While Charlie Crist, Rick Scott Tied in New Poll

First Posted: Oct 16, 2014 06:10 PM EDT
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The second Florida gubernatorial debate was almost canceled, despite both candidates being in the same building, due to the use of a small electrical fan.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, a former Republican Florida governor, was scheduled to debate the incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday night. Minutes prior to the 7 p.m., local time, debate, the Scott campaign announced their withdrawal from the debate because of Crist having an electrical fan under his podium.

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

According to debate moderator Eliott Gonzalez, the Scott campaign had agreed to a second debate but that "there should be no fan." An adviser of Crist's campaign tweeted an image of the agreement signed by Crist for the debate and noted it would take place "with understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary."

Scott would eventually appear on stage, and the debate commenced.

Scott issued a statement on Thursday stating, "With his (Crist's) record I think he was sweating so much he was worried he needed a fan. I think next time he's going to ask for some dry ice."

The incumbent governor claimed Crist was "throwing a fit and said he wasn't going to go on stage so we waited to see if he was even going to show up. So eventually he did. I think he was probably worried about his track record."

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., defended and echoed Scott's statement. "When I got here today for this debate, I was told that Charlie Crist was going to cancel the debate, because unless there was a fan on that stage, he would not come out. So I think that Governor Scott was waiting to see if Charlie would actually pull that off or not."

"I think it's outrageous that he's worried about that when he's not worried about a million Floridians without health insurance, he's not worried about teachers, he's not worried about my kid who goes to a public school," Crist's running mate Annette Taddeo said. "That's what he should be worried about, not about a fan."

According to a Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9 and University of Florida's Bob Graham Center poll, Crist and Scott are tied at 40 percent among likely voters. Six percent of respondents favored Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie, who was not in attendance for Wednesday's debate.

The National Council of La Raza and National Council of La Raza Action Fund released results of its own poll revealing nearly 40 percent of Latino Floridians plan to vote for Crist while 23 percent favored Scott. There are Florida Latinos that are undecided as 37 percent claimed they were unsure whom to vote for this November.

The poll, conducted by Latino Decisions, found 73 percent of Latinos polled was "certain" to vote in the gubernatorial election.

"While undecided in the state's top ticket contest, Latino voters are certainly energized to turn out and vote this November," NCLR Civic Engagement Deputy Director Loren McArthur said. "This provides a great opportunity for campaigns to reach out to Latinos and engage with them on the issues they feel are most critical to the community -- which according to respondents of the poll were the economy, immigration and health care."

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