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Get ready to rumble

Mario Diaz-Balart and Joe Garcia have agreed to the campaign's first televised debate: time and date to be announced.

The news comes as Garcia accused Diaz-Balart of looking to duck a face to face. But CBS-4 says it has agreements from both camps to debate -- possibly in prime time.

It's more progress than Lincoln Diaz-Balart and his rival, Raul Martinez have made on the debate front. After being accused of avoiding a debate, Diaz-Balart Thursday said he'd agreed to a CBS-4 debate.

But Martinez accused Diaz-Balart of pulling a fast one because the former Hialeah mayor had never been invited to the CBS-4 debate. The camps traded insulting press releases Friday -- but CBS-4 folks said they still hope to hammer out an agreement.

Among the slurs flung: Martinez says Diaz-Balart lied about the debate and turned down another opportunity to debate live: "A televised debate has yet to materialize except in Lincoln’s own mind," said Martinez spokesman Aaron Blye.

Diaz-Balart's camp said the incumbent has agreed to four debates: "Raul Martinez is officially in panic mode," campaign spokesman Carlos Curbelo said. "Congressman Diaz-Balart looks forward to debating. However, no number of debates will erase Raul Martinez's history of corruption and disgraceful behavior."

Martinez's camp, though, says Diaz-Balart has turned down at least one of the debates he says he's agreed to. "Lincoln has become such a good liar that he’s convinced himself he will show up to a debate he has already said no to," Blye said.

Small wonder that David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for the non-partisan Cook Political Report, told a recent Washington audience that he wouldn't be surprised if the Diaz-Balart/Martinez matchup was "one of the ugliest" in the country.

"We will see a race that operates in a different universe from the others we're watching," he said.

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