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Campus Cabinet debate canceled

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Posted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 12:15 am

The Florida Cabinet debates scheduled for Oct. 5 at UF were canceled Tuesday afternoon.

The debates were to take place between the attorney general, chief financial officer and commissioner of agriculture candidates.

“We were looking forward to a good, serious debate for the cabinet positions and we believed they would have been very informative for the voters,” said Dean Ridings, president and CEO Florida Press Association.

“Unfortunately, without full participation, there is no debate,” he said.

Both Pam Bondi, Republican candidate for the attorney general, and Jeff Atwater, Republican candidate for the chief financial officer, did not confirm scheduling for the debates, Ridings said.

Sandi Copes, Bondi’s press secretary, wrote in an e-mail that Bondi was excited to receive many debate invitations, but she only agreed to a debate hosted by Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13 on Oct. 16, and a second by Univision.

The Atwater campaign was not available for comment.

Bondi’s Democratic opponent, State Sen. Dan Gelber, had agreed to the debate. 

Gail Sasnett, the interim assistant director for public programs for the Bob Graham Center, which would have hosted the debate, said in a phone interview that the Center is disappointed the debate fell though.

Sasnett said both candidates for agriculture commissioner, Democrat Scott Maddox and Republican Adam Putnam, were still confirmed, but that “the cost to do it would be too great for one debate.”

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