Gov. Rick Scott's U.S. Senate campaign asked CNN to postpone a scheduled debate with Sen. Bill Nelson by two weeks on Thursday, saying that the governor will have "no time for campaigning" as the Florida Panhandle recovers from Hurricane Michael.
"We appreciate CNN understanding the dire situation in North Florida," campaign manager Jackie Schutz Zeckman said in a statement. "Floridians deserve the chance to see candidates debate so they can judge their leadership skills, experience, and differences. Governor Scott looks forward to debating, but will have no time for campaigning in the next few weeks as he focuses exclusively on recovery efforts for the foreseeable future."
Scott has been a near constant presence on TV this week in his official capacity as governor, urging residents in evacuation zones to leave and giving updates on storm preparation by state agencies. Nelson was in Washington to vote on a massive water infrastructure bill when Michael made landfall on Wednesday but both Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio missed votes on Thursday to travel to the Panhandle.
Moving the Oct. 16th debate back two weeks would set the nationally televised event for Oct. 30, exactly one week before Election Day and after early voting begins.