Officially, Attorney Pam Bondi was the first to issue the debate challenge to George Sheldon.
It was just minutes after Sheldon had won the Democratic nomination for Attorney General on Tuesday night when Bondi's campaign blasted an email stating that Bondi "calls for general election debate."
"The voters will have a clear choice between candidates in this election and they deserve to hear directly from us on the distinct difference in visions and leadership that each candidate will offer," the email stated. "This can be accomplished through thoughtful and respectful dialogue worthy of our great state."
While celebrating with supporters at a Tallahassee wine bar, Sheldon accepted, and then some.
"I'll debate her five times if she's up for it."
To emphasize that, Sheldon's campaign blasted its challenge to Bondi on Friday: Five debates over the next two months.
"The choice of attorney general every four years deserves more than one debate," Sheldon concludes in an open letter to Bondi.
By Friday afternoon, it wasn't clear if Bondi would debate that many times. Her campaign has at least $4.2 million to spend, while Sheldon, financially exhausted after a primary battle against Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, has about $50,000. In a state where candidates need TV air time to win, debates are a valuable way to make up ground lost in campaign finances.
“We’re glad that Attorney General Bondi’s opponent has accepted her request to debate the issues. Our teams will be in contact to work out the details in the coming weeks,” said Bondi's campaign spokesman, Trey Stapleton.