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Andrew Gillum accepts Richard Corcoran’s Twitter debate offer

The barbs, insults, and accusations over immigration and sanctuary cities traded by House Speaker and presumed Republican gubernatorial pre-candidate Richard Corcoran and Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum have turned into a Twitter offer from Corcoran to debate — and Gillum has accepted.

“If it weren’t for the criminal safe havens that @AndrewGillum wants to bring to Florida, Kate Steinle would still be alive today. And if Gillum disagrees, I’ll be happy to debate him anywhere, anytime,” Corcoran tweeted yesterday.

That was amid a back-and-forth over Corcoran’s political committee’s commercial highlighting that 2015 murder in San Francisco.

Steinle was killed by an undocumented immigrant who was slated for deportation but was protected by a sanctuary city in California. The suspect was acquitted of murder by a jury last year, but was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. His attorney argued the shooting was accidental.

Gillum had called the Corcoran ad racist.

“Mr. Speaker, I accept your offer. @TroyKinsey can pick the moderator. How about next Tuesday in Tallahassee?” Gillum replied by tweet shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Troy Kinsey, of course, is the Tallahassee bureau reporter for Central Florida News 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa Bay.

“I think we’ll start working on the details, that’s for sure,” Corcoran’s spokesman Taylor Budowich said. Then he added a dig on Gillum’s acceptance coming more than a day after the offer, noting, “It took him a couple of days.”

Said Gillum’s campaign spokesman Geoff Burgan: “We’ll meet him in front of Andrew’s corral, at high noon.”

On Wednesday, as he was trailed by reporters back to his office after a criminal justice press conference, the Speaker said he’s “looking forward” to it.

“Andrew’s a great guy,” Corcoran said. “We’ve reached out to him to see when and where we can do it. It will happen. Make no mistake about it.

“And I applaud Andrew Gillum for standing up and at least (being willing to have) that debate—when no others will.”

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

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