Six of the 21 qualified candidates—from all parties—agree to participate in Thursday’s debate in Stuart


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Brian McLaughlin | Media Director

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PodiumSTUART, Fla. (Aug. 8, 2016): Six U.S. Senatorial candidates will congregate in Stuart, Fla. on Thursday, August 11 for a traditional podium-style debate. All 21 qualified candidates—Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, NPAs (no party affiliation) and Write-ins—were invited in July with an Aug. 1 deadline to respond.

The debate will begin at 7 p.m. at The Grace Place Church at 1550 SE Salerno Road in Stuart. The hall seats 760 people so interested parties are invited to attend. Details are also being worked out for a possible live cable feed of the debate, which will be announced when more information is made available.

The candidates planning to debate are: Basil Dalack (NPA), Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente (DEM), Tony Khoury (NPA), Howard Knepper (WRI), Bruce Nathan (NPA) and Paul Stanton (LPF). The remaining candidates either declined or did not respond to the two invitations in July. Pam Keith (DEM) and Steven Machat (NPA) originally agreed to the debate but now have conflicting engagements.

The moderators will be local businessmen Barry Grant and Joe Duerr, who have hosted similar local forums in the past.

Republicans, Democrats and Libertarian candidates will go through an Aug. 30 primary, while the NPA and write-in candidates already have a spot on the November general election ballot.

This year’s race for U.S. Senate includes incumbent Marco Rubio, who originally pledged not to run this year due to his campaign for President of the United States. However, he changed his mind and filed to run just prior to the June deadline. He will face off against Carlos Beruff, Ernie Rivera and Dwight Mark Anthony Young in the Aug. 30 primary, while Alan Grayson, Reginald Luster, Patrick Murphy, Keith and De La Fuente will compete for the Democratic nomination. Stanton and Augustus Invictus will face off in an unprecedented Libertarian primary for a Florida U.S. Senate seat.

Comments from participating candidates, heading into the debate:

 “The voter must be an informed voter. A candidate has the obligation to express his position, and the voter must examine and evaluate it. It is to be hoped that the upcoming event will allow that process to occur.” – Basil Dalack, NPA

“We appreciate Pastor Rick Addison giving us a place to host this event. He emphasized this has nothing to do with the church, but with the community. He believes the community has the right to hear this debate and wanted to provide a location for it.” – Bruce Nathan, NPA

“Especially with the political climate this year, Floridians are tired of career politicians ruling over their lives. We must each make our case for the real change voters yearn for.” – Paul Stanton, LPF