Gubernatorial hopefuls Rick Scott and Bill McCollum will meet for their second and most likely final debate tonight in Tampa Bay at 6:30 p.m.
McCollum was, at one point, the presumptive GOP nominee, an idea that has been eroded by Scott’s outsider message and the $22.9 million he has personally injected into his campaign. Now, the latest polls show Scott in the lead by as much as 16 points.
Viewers tonight should expect the same talking points. From McCollum, “fraud,” in reference to the $1.7 billion in fines levied against the health care company Scott led. From Scott, “career politician,” using McCollum’s state service and 20-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives to paint him as an insider, in a decidedly anti-insider year.
Such was the case in the first debate, broadcast by Spanish-language station Univision on Monday.
But McCollum will need more from tonight to turn his fortunes. With the Aug. 24 primary swiftly approaching, the time to change voters’ minds is running out.
Those outside of the Florida broadcast area can watch the debate live streaming here.
A third debate was scheduled for next week, but Scott’s campaign has, thus far, objected to the location. The McCollum campaign has said it will attend anyway, and will hold a “candidate forum,” perhaps with an additional empty podium, if Scott declines to appear.