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What To Look For In The First Senate Debate

Governor Rick Scott and Senator Bill Nelson.

A pre-taped debate airing Tuesday night on Telemundo will show Governor Rick Scott and Senator Bill Nelson squaring off in the first senatorial debate of the election season. The Spanish-language channel is hosting the first of two Senate debates.

While appealing to the Latinx vote in Central and South Florida has been a focus for both candidates, Professor of Political Science Edurado Gamarra said a focus on policy is what would really set the candidates apart. Especially for Nelson, “he’s had a catch up game and frankly as a senator he doesn’t have the kind of goodies that he might be able to distribution to ensure name recognition and the ability to get them out to vote,” explains Gamarra.  Nelson had polled behind with Hispanic voters early in the campaign.

Scott held an early edge with Latino voters, reaching out to the voting bloc early in the campaign. The governor started airing Spanish-speaking ads during the FIFA’s World Cup earlier this summer. Gamarra said the ads don’t match with policy, “the pandering on the Republican side has been much more dishonest in the sense that the promises that they make don’t coincide with the policies they are offering.” Gamarra said Scott’s support of cutting healthcare could drive Latinos away as they are the largest uninsured minority group.

Nelson entered the debate with a fresh endorsement of Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosello who many thought would support Scott. The governor made multiple trips to the island after Hurrican Maria.

The debate airs on Telemundo at 7:00 p.m. A second and final debate is scheduled October 16 airing on CNN.


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About Emily Lang

Emily Lang