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It’s official: Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Canova to debate for 60 minutes on Sunday

(UPDATED 6:51 p.m.) 

It’s official — Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Canova will debate for a full hour this Sunday morning on “Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede”  from 8 to 9 a.m. on CBS4 Miami. It will also be streamed live on CBSMiami.com and facebook.com/CBSMiami.

“After four months of dodging debates and running scared, Wasserman Schultz has finally agreed to debates,” Canova said in a statement. “We we were hoping for at least three, two-hour debates, but for the time being, this will have to suffice.”

Canova also said in his statement he believed he and Wasserman Schultz will engage in a second, hour-long debate on Michael Putney’s “This Week in South Florida,” which airs on WPLFG Channel 10.

However, the Wassermann Schultz campaign denied that would happen. “There is no agreement to a second debate,” Ryan Banfill, a spokesman for the Wasserman Schultz campaign, said in an email Thursday night.

“Again, I look forward to the opportunity to discuss the issues important to the people of Florida’s 23rd Congressional District,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement issued earlier Thursday afternoon, before Canova had formally responded. “I will be there on Sunday. I welcome my opponent’s participation if he decides he wants a real discussion of the issues that matter to our community.’

The announcement finally clears the air, after Canova had angrily rejected what he said was Wasserman Schultz’ original plan for a debate, that would only last for 15 minutes on DeFede’s Sunday morning show.

DeFede tweeted earlier that the original debate would be for 30 minutes, and NOT a 15-minute segment.

Earlier in the day, Canova said he would not participate in what had been planned as only a 15-minute exchange between the two candidates.

“After four months of dodging debates and running scared, Wasserman Schultz now wants to schedule a 15-minute debate?” Canova said in a statement issued Thursday morning. “If she believes one 15-minute debate is sufficient to defend her record, it shows she’s learned nothing from her failures in scheduling debates at the DNC before her shameful resignation. In April, I proposed a series of real debates, and that’s still my hope, that the voters will get the benefit of hearing us discuss the issues in more than one debate of at least two hours each to cover a wide range of issues of importance to all of us.”

Canova has been requesting as many as six debates with the CD 23 incumbent for months, but Wasserman Schultz had essentially ignored those entreaties. Until last Thursday, when she told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s editorial board she was in debate discussions with Canova.

“That statement was a complete fabrication,” his campaign said on Thursday. “In fact, Wasserman Schultz and no one from her campaign has ever responded to the debate challenge that Canova made back in April.”

That’s all in the past, though, as the two will now engage in their debate on CBS4 Miami at 8 a.m. Sunday.

 

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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