Leadership Florida, Florida Press Association produced debates at Nova Southeastern University
In the climactic finale to the most exciting election in modern Florida history, major candidates for the state’s two top posts – Governor and U.S. Senator – were the back-to-back-night main events for LIVE statewide-televised debates in both races. It was all part of the “Decision 2010: Before You Vote” project created and produced by the partnership of Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association.
Nova Southeastern University became Florida’s political epicenter as national attention focused on the highest stakes debates of the 2010 year. Gubernatorial candidates Alex Sink (D) and Rick Scott (R) participated in the first of only two statewide televised LIVE debates in the race for Governor, Wednesday, October 20th, at NSU’s Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center, in front of an audience of more than 400 – and millions more who watched across Florida.
The night before, October 19th, U.S. Senate candidates Kendrick Meek and Marco Rubio – the Democratic and Republican nominees, respectively – along with independent candidate Charlie Crist debated in the same NSU venue.
“In an election that will determine the course for Florida in a critical time in this state’s history, Nova Southeastern University is honored to host the gubernatorial and senatorial debates and play a role in helping the public make an informed decision. It seems very appropriate to have an educational institution serve this purpose,” said– Ray Ferrero, Jr., J.D., Chancellor of Nova Southeastern University
The LIVE statewide broadcasts of the U.S. Senate and Governor races’ debates were produced by WFOR-TV/Ch. 4, the Miami-Dade/Broward region’s CBS affiliate. The programs were broadcast statewide through a consortium of television stations that included WFOR-TV (in the South Florida region of Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties); WKMG-TV/Ch. 6 (CBS) in Orlando; WJXT-TV/Ch. 4 in Jacksonville; WPTV-TV/Ch. 5 (NBC) in West Palm Beach; WFTS-TV/Ch. 28 (ABC) in Tampa/St. Petersburg; WCTV-TV/Ch. 6 (CBS) in Tallahassee; WJHG-TV/Ch. 7 (NBC) in Panama City; WINK-TV/Ch. 11 (CBS) in Ft. Myers; WCJB-TV/Ch. 20 (ABC) in Gainesville; WEAR-TV/Ch. 3 (ABC) in Pensacola; and WWSB-TV/Ch. 7 (ABC) in Sarasota.
For the October 19th U.S. Senate debate, candidates responded to questions from a panel of Florida journalists, including William March of the The Tampa Tribune, Myriam Marquez of the The Miami Herald, and Michael Williams, Political Reporter for WFOR-TV, CBS-Ch. 4 in Miami. WFOR anchorman, Antonio Mora, moderated. The following night, Wednesday, October 20, Gubernatorial candidates Rick Scott (R) and Alex Sink (D) answered questions from Florida journalists Kelley Dunn, co-anchor for WPTV Ch. 5, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Antonio Fins of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times. WFOR anchorman, Antonio Mora, also moderated this debate.