The presence of an electric fan onstage during Wednesday’s second gubernatorial debate caused an uproar when Governor Rick Scott initially refused to debate Crist over the presence of the oscillator.
Debate organizers say the presence of electronic devices, including fans, was not allowed. A handwritten note added to the debate contract by the Crist camp requesting the fan’s presence," with the understanding that debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary," was not approved.
"If there had been a temperature issue we would have certainly been willing to address it," says Dean Ridings, President of the Florida Press Association. "I didn’t have a concern about the comment. As it turned out, temperature was 67-degrees at 6:00 p.m. and we didn’t see any need to have a fan.”
Crist regularly has fan nearby during public appearances. Both the Scott and Crist campaigns are now using the so-called “fangate” incident to attack one another.
Meanwhile, Florida State University political scientist Carol Weissert says people are surprised and disappointed with both candidates behavior.
“People watching the debate were dismayed," Weissert says."They were settling in to watch candidates for a major state in the United State that happens to be their own to talk about the issues important to Floridians.”
Crist is known to have a fan with him during public events. Meanwhile, Libertarian Candidate Adrian Wyllie is using “FanGate” to further distance himself from Scott and Crist. Wyllie told the Associated Press he’s "the only adult" in the gubernatorial race. The final debate is set for October 21 and will be carried on CNN.