Dem candidates for governor to debate in Tampa Bay next week

The four announced Democratic candidates for governor at a previous debate in Tampa. [WTVT-Ch. 13]

All four announced Democratic candidates for governor will be in Tampa Bay next week for the first of a slew of summer debates.

On June 9, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Orlando businessman Chris King, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum are scheduled to convene at Pinellas Park High School’s auditorium in Largo. The event will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., but all the free tickets for the public have already been claimed, according to organizers.

Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith will be one of the debate moderators, along with local TV news anchors Tammie Fields of Orlando’s channel 13 and Holly Gregory of Bay News 9.

The event will be televised live in the Bay area on channels 1209, 9 and 1009 HD, and in Central Florida on channels 1213, 13 and 1013 HD, or viewable online at or Follow the Buzz and the Miami Herald for event coverage and analysis.

Organizer Vickie Dunn of Indivisible FL 13, a Pinellas liberal grassroots group that is holding the debate along with Women’s March Florida and Fired Up Pinellas, said it’s possible that potential Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy could still join the debate, if he announces his candidacy soon.

Murphy, a former Congressman, is considering joining the race late in the game and would pick as his lieutenant governor David Jolly, an outspoken anti-Trump Republican from Pinellas whom Murphy worked with in Congress.

The Democratic candidates are also scheduled to debate in Miramar (Broward County) two days later on June 11, as well July 8 in Fort Myers and August 2 in Miami, as the candidates try to drum up hype in an effort to recapture the governor’s mansion. The last time Florida elected a Democratic governor was in 1994.

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