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WJXT & JU team up for Florida gubernatorial debate, town hall

Andrew Gillum, Chris King, Philip Levine and Gwen Graham appear on stage Saturday night during the Democratic gubernatorial debate in Largo, Florida.
Andrew Gillum, Chris King, Philip Levine and Gwen Graham appear on stage Saturday night during the Democratic gubernatorial debate in Largo, Florida.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – WJXT Channel 4 and the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute announced plans Tuesday to hold a televised debate and town hall in August leading up to the Florida gubernatorial primary.

The Republican candidates, U.S. Rep Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, will square off on stage on Aug. 8 at JU's Terry Concert Hall for the second of two debates the candidates are expected to take part in.

On Aug. 9, the venue will play host to a town hall for the Democratic candidates. The list of invitees includes Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Winter Park businessman Chris King, former Miami Mayor Philip Levine, and billionaire Jeff Greene.

The events represent an opportunity for voters to learn more about the candidates vying to succeed Florida Gov. Rick Scott, so they can make informed choices about their next governor when they cast their ballots in the Aug. 28 primary election.

"Preparing our viewers on how each candidate views the important issues to our local community is a commitment we take very seriously," said WJXT Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis.

JU Public Policy Institute Director Rick Mullaney said the university was pleased to partner with WJXT for the events, saying "the governor's race is one of the most important in the nation."

Moderated by anchor Kent Justice, the debate and town hall mark the latest partnership between the institute and WJXT, which have teamed up to seven televised debates for local, state and national elections since 2015.

Only candidates polling at five percent or higher in the Real Clear Politics average of a series of polls were invited to take part in Wednesday's debate and Thursday's forum.

The organizations have also invited U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Scott to take part in a televised debate in October for the U.S. Senate race ahead of the November general election.

To learn more about the upcoming events, contact Amy Lane by phone at (904) 256-7452 or via email at alane4@ju.edu.


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