For several major election cycles, this partnership of Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association has produced meaningful statewide televised debates to help educate voters before they vote about the major candidates and where they stand on the issues that matter most to Floridians. The project has established carefully considered, thoughtfully developed and widely publicized fair criterion for invitations to participate in the debate. We expect to protect the integrity of the appropriate process established for this debate and vigorously will defend our criterion and this project.
The most recent litigation was filed by Steven Machat and the case was dismissed on October 13, 2017.

Wednesday, Oct. 26  7:00 pm

“Decision 2016: Before You Vote” – Rubio and Murphy Accept Invitation to Participate in Leadership Florida and Florida Press Association U.S. Senate Debate

~ Leadership Florida, Florida Press Association to produce the live, one-hour commercial television debate at Broward College at 7 p.m. on October 26 ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In the most closely watched U.S. Senate race in the country, Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association today announce that both Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Patrick Murphy have formally agreed to participate in the “Decision 2016: Before You Vote” debate taking place October 26 on Broward College’s main campus in Davie.

“The outcome of Florida’s Senate race literally could affect the future direction of the country, and 13 days before Election Day we know the eyes of the state and the nation will be on this debate,” said Wendy Walker, president of Leadership Florida. “We are pleased that both major parties’ nominees have committed so quickly to participate.”

Added Dean Ridings, president and CEO of the Florida Press Association: “The free exchange of ideas is at the heart of our system of democracy because it creates an informed electorate. This debate will provide an outstanding opportunity for Florida voters to see the candidates and understand their positions and their differences.”

The one-hour debate, to be produced by WPBF 25, a Hearst-owned ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, will be broadcast from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, through a “Before You Vote” network of television broadcasters in every one of Florida’s 11 media markets. The live debate broadcast also will be simulcast on Florida Public Radio member stations.

Moderating the debate will be veteran WPBF 25 News anchor and multiple Emmy Award-winner Todd McDermott, with a media panel still to be named.

The sponsors of the “Decision 2016: Before You Vote” debate series are Broward College, League of Southeastern Credit Unions, AARP, Claude Pepper Foundation, and Black Alliance for Educational Opportunities. Together, these organizations represent millions of Floridians and thousands of businesses and institutions vital to the life of our state.

In addition to WPBF 25, the “Before You Vote” statewide broadcast partners include: WJXX (CBS) in Jacksonville; WFTV (ABC) in Orlando; WTVJ (NBC) in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale; WFTS (ABC) in Tampa/St. Petersburg; WBBH (NBC) in Ft. Myers; WCTV (CBS) in Tallahassee; WMBB (ABC) in Panama City; WEAR (ABC) in Pensacola; WCJB (ABC) in Gainesville; and SNN-SunCoast News TV in Sarasota.

For more than 34 years, Leadership Florida has provided a non-partisan, non-parochial perspective about statewide topics of concern and opportunities while encouraging collaboration among the state’s leadership. Visit www.leadershipflorida.org to learn more. 

The Florida Press Association is a nonprofit corporation designed to protect the freedoms and advance the professional standards of the press in Florida, with a membership that includes most of Florida’s daily and weekly newspapers. Visit www.flpress.com to learn more. 

Broward College is ranked as one of the top 10 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute. Serving more than 63,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees and baccalaureate degrees. The mission of the College is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit www.broward.edu

Watch the debate live at 7:00 pm on the following stations:

WPBF 25 (ABC), West Palm Beach

WJXX (ABC), Jacksonville

WFTV (ABC), Orlando

WTVJ (NBC), Miami/Ft. Lauderdale

WFTS (ABC), Tampa/St. Petersburg

WBBH (NBC), Ft. Myers

WCTV (CBS), Tallahassee

WMBB (ABC), Panama City*

WEAR (ABC), Pensacola*

WCJB (ABC), Gainesville

SNN-SunCoast News TV, Sarasota

*These stations will delay broadcast of the debate to 7:00 pm Central Time (8:00 pm ET)