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CAS faculty to participate in upcoming election debates

TAMPA, Fla. -- With less than two weeks before the midterm elections, U.S. Senate and Florida Gubernatorial candidates will make their last pleas for votes during two televised debates at the University of South Florida.

USF will host the U.S. Senate debate at 9 a.m., Oct. 24, and the Florida Gubernatorial debate at 7 p.m., Oct. 25, both in Theatre 1. The university has partnered with the St. Petersburg Times and CNN to give the five candidates a chance to gain any last minute votes.

U.S. Senate candidates Marco Rubio (R), Kendrick Meek (D) and Charlie Crist (I), will answer questions regarding Florida's economy, education and unemployment rate, among other hot issues. The candidates will have to answer to Moderator and CNN Chief Political Correspondent, Candy Crowley. The debate will be the focus of Crowley's Sunday show "State of the Union with Candy Crowley."

Florida gubernatorial candidates Rick Scott (R) and Alex Sink (D) also will face tough questions. With one of the nation's highest unemployment rates, the candidates will have to answer to the nearly 12 percent of Floridians who are unemployed and looking for answers. Scott and Sink's debate will be moderated by CNN Chief National Correspondent, John King.

Students will be among those in the crowd both Sunday and Monday, as well as attending watch parties held on campus during the debates. A straw poll of more than 1,500 students, led by Susan MacManus, showed how the USF student body may vote on Nov. 2, 2010.

The U.S. Senate election was a three-way tie. Rubio received 31 percent, Meek received 30 percent and Crist received 31 percent of the votes. The gubernatorial race was not as close. Sink received 53 percent of the vote while Scott received 33 percent.

The number one issue that students voted on was the economy, with 49 percent of the votes.

"It may be that some candidates get some good tips about how to reach younger votes in these last couple weeks before the election," MacManus told ABC Action News.

College of Arts and Sciences professors will be participating in a Spin Zone panel for the media immediately following the debates.

Edwin Benton, a political science and public administration professor, will be among the panel of experts.

"My expertise is relevant to this election because I teach and conduct research on state and local governments," he said.

MacManus also will be in the panel, as well as economics professor Philip Porter, geography professor Bob Brinkmann and professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Biology, Susan Bell.

Bell will be focusing on the candidates answers to environmental issues.

"The views of candidates on environmental issues can have important ramifications for the state of Florida," she said.

While the debates may produce both winners and losers, Floridians will have to wait until the final poll closes at 7 p.m. CST, to officially find out who their new representatives will be.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences     
Author: Amanda Stone