It’s official: Plug pulled on TV debate among Republican U.S. Senate candidates

A TV debate planned among Republican U.S. Senate candidates is officially off.

A TV debate planned among Republican U.S. Senate candidates is officially off.

Palm Beach Atlantic University made it official Tuesday — cancelling a debate planned next week between Florida’s Republican candidates for U.S. Senate.

The Lemieux Center for Public Policy at PBAU had planned to host the debate Aug. 23, a week before voters choose the Republican and Democratic nominees. It was to be broadcast around the state.

But since U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio reversed course and decided to run for re-election, most of the original GOP field has dropped out of the race.

Rubio also is giving his leading opponent, Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff, the cold shoulder when the underdog calls for debates. The same is true on the Democratic side, where U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter refuses to debate top rival U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando.

No debates are planned before the primary.

The Lemieux Center is named for George Lemieux, who former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist appointed in 2009 as a 16-month, place-holder for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by then U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.

Rubio took the Republican nomination from Crist and later won the U.S. Senate seat in 2010.

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