GOP Gubernatorial Debate Tonight by Mitch E. Perry


Republican rivals Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher, whose race for Governor has suddently turned uglier in the last week, meet tonight in their first statewide televised debate.

The stakes are increasingly high for CFO Tom Gallagher, who has spent the entire summer trailing Crist in both the polls and in fundraising.

The one hour debate will be televised live from the studios of WEDU, the PBS affiliate in Tampa, and simulcast here on WMNF, beginning at 8PM. Moderating the debate and tomorrow night when the Democrats get together, is WMNF’s News and Public Affairs Director Rob Lorei.

Among the panel asking questions will be St. Petersburg Times deputy Tallahassee bureau chief Joni James, Joe Brown of the Tampa Tribune, and Pat Yack of the Florida Times-Union…We asked Rob Lorei this afternoon if the format for the debate is the class format – with the candidates responding to questions from the reporters (roll tape#1 o.q.�interesting answers�)

Meanwhile, the Democrats will get it on tomorrow at the same time and same place. Tampa area Congressman Jim Davis appeared live on WMNF’s Radioactivity this afternoon with Rob Lorei - Davis was asked what appears to be one of the Achilles heels of his campaign – his record of missing votes – Davis is ranked 2nd worst in the entire congress in that dubious category (roll tape#1 o.q.�stand up to them�)

Meanwhile, Davis’s opponent, State Senator Rod Smith, unveiled a new television ad today, where he discusses how he’ll raise teachers pay if he takes over the Governor Mansion in Tallahassee next January (roll tape#2 o.q.�that’s straight talk�)

On his website,, Smith says he would raise the average teacher pay to the top half of the nation by restoring the intangibles tax and by using funds he says that would have otherwise have gone to vouchers.

Meanwhile, for supporters of the 2 candidates debating tonight, there will be parties in Tampa where you can watch the debate…Charlie Crist’s party will take place at Valencia Gardens on West Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa, while Tom Gallagher’s party will take place on Jackson Bistro on Harbor Island

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