Charlie Crist Broke the Debate Rules With Fan, Officials Say

Charlie Crist Broke the Debate Rules With Fan, Officials Say
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Because Florida is Florida, the topic of the day Thursday is, of course, FanGate. And now debate organizers have released a statement saying that Charlie Crist did, intact, break debate rules by having his trusty fan with him onstage.

The statement from the Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association says Crist had agreed to not bring his fan if the temperature were cool enough. And while Crist insisted that he would be bring the fan up with him if there were "temperature issues," debate officials said there were no such issues.

The temperature on the stage at the time of the debate was 67 degrees.

See also: #FanGate Reactions Dominate Post-Debate Spin by Politicians

"Both campaigns received a letter in advance from the debate organizers (FPA and LF) stating the format, logistics and other detailed information relating to the debate," the statement reads. "The letter also specified that 'candidates may not bring electronic devices (including fans), visual aids or notes to the debate, but will be provided with a pad and pen.'"

Scott's campaign signed the letter on Thursday, October 9, the statement says.

Four days later, Crist's campaign signed it but included a handwritten note scribbled on it that read, "*with understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary."

FPA President Dean Ridings received Crist's note and told his campaign that comfort and temperature inside Broward College's Bailey Hall would not be an issue. If an issue arose, Ridings said, they would address it.

See also: Charlie Crist's Fan: On Twitter Since 2010

According to the FPA, the temperature at Bailey Hall at Broward College at 7 p.m. Wednesday was 67 degrees.

"Between 6 and 6:20 p.m., someone from the Crist campaign placed a fan under Charlie Crist's podium, and they were again told that no fans would be permitted," the statement says. "Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association did not anticipate or plan for the possibility that a candidate would not honor the Debate rules. In retrospect, the Debate Partners should have been better prepared for this possibility. In addition, we regret that one candidate was allowed to take the stage and allowed to talk before the fan issue was resolved."


Crist was asked directly about the fan during the debate. He replied, "Why not? It's important to be comfortable."

Scott was also asked why he didn't come out on time for the debate over the fan issue.

See also: Rick Scott-Charlie Crist Debate at Broward College (Photos)

His answer was, well, a garbled mess:

The result is, as they say, history.

And even after the debate, Scott's supporters were spinning the issue as Crist breaking the rules.

The Crist campaign, meanwhile, has not responded to the FPA statement.

It has, however, been milking #FanGate for all it's worth on Crist's Twitter feed.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

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