After a primary marked by no debates among either the Democratic or Republican field, GOP U.S. Senate nominee Marco Rubio challenged Democratic opponent Patrick Murphy to take the debate stage six times between now and November.
So far, an Oct. 26 contest, sponsored by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association, is the only one planned.
“Despite our differences, I hope we can both agree that voters deserve to know where we stand on the important issues of our time,” Rubio said in a day-after primary letter to Murphy.
With Rubio the apparent front-runner in the race, clamoring for more debates is a departure from the usual campaign playbook. But after having been tested many times in presidential debates earlier this year, Rubio looks eager to engage his rival.
Murphy accepted the challenge Wednesday — with a twist. He gigged Rubio for being unwilling to commit to serving out a full six-year term, if re-elected in November.
“I’m excited to debate Marco Rubio,” Murphy said. “His ‘challenge’ today is nothing more than a desperate attempt to try and change the campaign narrative from the fact that he abandoned Florida. I have a counter challenge: Senator Rubio, commit to serving a six-year term.”