Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto and his predecessor and challenger this year former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson have agreed on two debates and two other joint forums in the weeks leading to the Aug. 28 Democratic primary.
Soto’s campaign announced Tuesday it was commiting to a Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida Aug. 2 debate, and a Spectrum News 13 Aug. 8 debate. The Tiger Bay forum, open only to members of the club, is a noon event. The Spectrum forum is set for 7 p.m. and would be broadcast by that cable TV company’s 24-hour news channel.
In addition, Soto’s campaign said he would be participating in the upcoming July 16 Polk County Progressive Democratic Caucus candidate forum, and a July 31 forum being arranged by several organizations including the League of Women Voters of Florida.
Grayson already has commited to those. Last week he accused Soto of ducking the debates and forums, while Soto’s campaign said, essentially, stand by. The pair also previously both participated in a Polk County Democratic Executive Committee forum in June.
Grayson’s campaign noted Tuesday that Soto made no reference to another potential debate to which Grayson had commited, offered by WDBO radio/Cox Media Group.
Soto and Grayson are competing to represent CD 9, which covers south Orange County, all of Osceola County, and east Polk County. Grayson represented the district from 2013-’17. Soto succeeded him when Grayson chose to run for the U.S. Senate in 2016. Soto beat his wife Dena Grayson and two others in the Democratic primary before beating Republican Wayne Liebnitzky in the general election.
Liebnitzky again is the Republican candidate ths year.