Florida governor debate on for Oct. 24 after hurricane delay

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — The only scheduled debate between candidates for governor in Florida is back on for Oct. 24 after a delay caused by Hurricane Ian.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Democratic challenger Charlie Crist were initially supposed to debate on WPEC-TV on Wednesday. The deadly storm that came ashore Sept. 28 in Southwest Florida last week dashed those plans.

WPEC said on its website the rescheduled debate will air statewide as initially planned beginning at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24.

It will come after mail-in voting has already begun and with early voting starting in many parts of Florida the same day as the debate. Crist, himself a former governor as a Republican, has trailed DeSantis — a potential 2024 presidential candidate — in most public opinion polls.

“This debate is important. Florida voters deserve a chance to hear from both candidates in the race to determine who will lead our state for the next four years,” Crist said in a statement.