Mitch Perry Report 10.10.14: Crist & Scott finally duel in a debate

It was just another week on the campaign trail in this year's gubernatorial campaign. We saw the Democratic nominee for attorney general asking a court to force Rick Scott to fully disclose all his assets and investments. We also saw the chair of the Republican Party of Florida demand that Charlie Crist return $40,000 in campaign contributions from a strip club owner. All part of the pageantry that is this year's race to run the state of Florida, a race dubbed by Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson as featuring the "least-liked pair of candidates for governor in the country."

And now come the debates.

The first of three scheduled forums between Scott and Crist takes place this morning at Telemundo's WCVS-Miami studio, and will be broadcast in the Tampa Bay market at 7 p.m. on Channel 18 on Verizon and Channel 49 on Bright House. And since it's designed for Spanish-speaking audiences, Rick Scott better bring his A game for Latino voters, because a new poll shows Crist smoking the GOP incumbent when it comes to Hispanics, by 53-29 percent. That may not be as bad as Mitt Romney's desultory performance with that key demographic in 2012, but it certainly lends credence to the notion that it's Crist, and not Scott, who is gaining momentum three and a half weeks before Election Day.

Telemundo is excluding Adrian Wyllie from the debate, but the Libertarian candidate for governor, who is hovering in double digits in most recent polls, intends to be a part of the next debate, scheduled for Wednesday night in Broward County. Or at least that's his intention in suing the hosts of that debate. One of Wyllie's attorneys, Luke Lirot, was successful in getting Max Linn to participate in a Crist/Jim Davis debate in 2006, so watch out for that. 

In other news....

Activists held a protest in front of Rick Scott's campaign headquarters in St. Petersburg yesterday, where activists said the governor should return the campaign contributions he's received from Duke Energy, everyone's favorite punching bag these days.

Pinellas County Commissioner candidate Pat Gerard is hitting GOP opponent Ed Hooper for some of his votes in the Legislature.

And please check out our feature on CD15 Democratic candidate Alan Cohn, as he tries to beat the odds and knock out GOP incumbent Dennis Ross next month.

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