Corcoran & Gillum To Face Off In Televised Debate On Immigration

By on February 9, 2018 in News Service of Florida

Florida – Floridians will get an honest-to-goodness, face-to-face debate over immigration policy and “sanctuary cities” next week as Republican Richard Corcoran and Democrat Andrew Gillum try to boost their poll numbers in the race for governor.

But it doesn’t appear that any other governor hopefuls are clamoring to join them on the TV-studio stage.

Corcoran, the House speaker who is widely expected to run for governor, and Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor who is an announced candidate, have agreed to square off Tuesday night about immigration issues after engaging in a Twitter battle.

The debate comes after Corcoran and Gillum each landed in third place in a new Mason-Dixon poll of the gubernatorial primaries.

The Republican leaders in the poll, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Congressman Ron DeSantis, have not shown interest in joining the debate, possibly trying to lessen attention for the event.

Asked for a comment, Brad Herold, a spokesman for R DeSantis emailed back, “Lol. No.”

Amanda Bevis, a Putnam spokeswoman, simply replied she had “nothing to add.”

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who will leave the House in November, scored just 7 percent in the Republican primary portion of the Mason-Dixon poll, which was released Tuesday.

Putnam polled at 27 percent, followed by 23 percent for DeSantis, who has been bolstered by frequent appearances on Fox News and a tweet of support from President Donald Trump.

The debate was put together after Corcoran’s political committee, Watchdog PAC, released an inflammatory campaign-style  ad targeting “sanctuary cities.” Democratic gubernatorial candidates, including Gillum, attacked the ad.

“Speaker Corcoran’s dishonest depiction of violence is a pathetic attempt to intimidate and scare voters,” former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, who led the Democratic gubernatorial field in the Mason-Dixon poll, said in an email. “His attempts to demean immigrant families is as false as it is despicable. I’m deeply disappointed, but hardly surprised.”

Avery Jaffe, a campaign spokesman for Democratic candidate Chris King, a Winter Park businessman, said Florida needs leadership that moves the state forward.

“I’m not sure what there is to debate — Richard Corcoran’s ad was racist and xenophobic,” Jaffe said. “He was stoking fear and division with a false advertisement.”

Graham received support from 20 percent of Democratic voters in the Mason-Dixon poll and was followed by former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine at 17 percent, Gillum at 10 percent and King at 4 percent.

Corcoran and Gillum have agreed to a 45-minute debate on “sanctuary cities” that will be held 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Florida Internet & Television studio in Tallahassee.

Photo courtesy Niyazz and


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