Three weeks before the general election, Representative Keith Perry will debate his challenger at UF.

Perry and Rod Smith, both running for District 8, will speak during a free event Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. Accent Speakers Bureau and UF External Affairs are hosting the hourlong debate.

Mike Greenberg, the Accent chairman, said he hopes students entranced by the U.S. presidential race would use this as an opportunity to learn about local politics.

“With all the attention that the presidential race gets, the local races often get very overlooked,” the 21-year-old UF political science senior said. “A lot of times, the policies enacted at the local level can have a great effect on students’ lives here in Gainesville.”

Greenberg said the debate will feature questions about the candidates’ policies, and students can submit their own questions.

Sarah Spardy, a UF criminology and political science junior and an undecided voter, said she heard about the debate in class and is excited to attend, hoping it will help her decide between the two candidates.

She said the media tends to be biased on the positions of politicians, and debates are important because they let people like Smith and Perry speak for themselves.

“You kind of hear different things from different sources, and a lot of them are conflicting,” she said. “So my way to be the most informed voter is hearing it from their mouths.”

Correction: The original article incorrectly state Keith Perry was an incumbent Florida Senator. He is in fact a state representative. The story has been to reflect that. 

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