ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The race for the 13th Congressional District seat between former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly is heating up and viewers can watch them debate live only on 10News WTSP.
The candidates will square off in the event at the St. Petersburg College's Palladium Theater in St. Pete tonight at 7 p.m.
The debate, sponsored by our news partners the Tampa Bay Times and 10News WTSP will cover the topics that matter to local voters the most. It will be moderated by 10News political reporter Mark Rivera and Times' political editor Adam C. Smith. PolitiFact will live fact-check the debate on its Twitter account and website.
The race between the former Republican governor turned independent turned Democrat Crist and pro-life, pro-Second Amendment Republican David Jolly has garnered national attention due to the Supreme Court's redrawing of the district, according to the Times.
The potential for new voters in the areas now included in the race has increased the potential for a Crist victory, something the candidate has not done since 2006, when he was elected governor. He's lost a 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate and in 2014 when he unsuccessfully ran for governor against incumbent Gov. Rick Scott.
Jolly, as incumbent, is seeking election for the seat he has held since succeeding longtime Republican Congressman Bill Young in 2014 after Young passed away in 2013.
He attempted to run for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Sen. Marco Rubio when Rubio turned his attention to securing the Republican nomination for president. Rubio's loss to eventual nominee Donald Trump brought him back into the senate race, leading Jolly back to running for his District 13 seat again.
The debate tonight is a must watch between the contentious candidates. Smith told the Times to expect a little fun during tonight's proceedings.
"It's a nationally watched congressional race with two sharp candidates, so voters should get a clear sense of the choice between Jolly and Crist between Jolly and Crist and how they approach issues that matter to everyone in Tampa Bay. Plus, we should have some fun," Smith said.
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