Gov. Rick Scott is pulling out of the U.S. Senate debate with Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson set for next Tuesday, with Scott’s campaign saying he is needed to focus on response to Hurricane Michael and is asking the host network CNN to reschedule it for two weeks later.

“Due to the catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Michael, Gov. Scott will be solely focused on response and recovery efforts. Ensuring Florida’s Panhandle and Big Bend communities can rebuild and return to their homes and jobs is top priority. We are sure Sen. Nelson agrees. So, today, the Scott for Florida campaign has asked CNN to postpone the debate between Gov. Scott and Sen. Nelson for two weeks,” Scott’s Campaign Manager Jackie Schutz Zeckman stated in a press advisory.

Nelson’s campaign appears to be preparing to follow suit, though it was waiting Thursday afternoon to hear back from CNN.

“We appreciate CNN understanding the dire situation in North Florida,” she continued. “Floridians deserve the chance to see candidates debate so they can judge their leadership skills, experience, and differences. Gov. Scott looks forward to debating, but will have no time for campaigning in the next few weeks as he focuses exclusively on recovery efforts for the foreseeable future.

CNN had arranged for a 10 p.m. debate next Tuesday between Republican Scott and Nelson, to be hosted by Wolf Blitzer at the WEDU PBS studio in Tampa.

About The Author

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 Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused.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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