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Tiger Bay Club to host CD 9 debate

The Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida announced it will be hosting a late debate in the Orlando-based Florida’s Congressional District 9 race.

The Aug. 23 debate — one week out from the primary — will feature two of the four Democrats running, progressive activist Susannah Randolph and state Sen. Darren Soto, both of Orlando; and the two Republicans running, Kissimmee Commissioner Wanda Rentas and St. Cloud businessman Wayne Liebnitzky.

Two other Democrats in the Aug. 30 primary, Dena Grayson and Valleri Crabtree, “are unable to participate,” according to the Tiger Bay release.

Tiger Bay had been trying to arrange a CD 9 debate for months and once had one on the calendar for early June, but only Soto among the Democrats had confirmed and that event was canceled.

Grayson has rarely appeared in events also featuring her opponents. Her campaign said she had a scheduling conflict. Crabtree, who has frequented multi-candidate events, teaches business law at the Keller School of Graduate Management and said her students cannot afford for her to miss that day.

With the addition of Randolph, the debate features the two most prominent candidates, though internal polling in the campaigns has suggested the Democratic race is very close.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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