Friday night’s debate between Gene Taylor and Steven Palazzo has taken an interesting couple of turns this week, but we have the latest.
The fact that anything got planned is a minor miracle. Taylor’s group wanted no studio audience, while Palazzo wanted a studio audience and for the debate to be unedited. The WKFK deal was a bit of a compromise with no studio audience, but it will also be unedited. Kipp Gregory was to be the moderator.
Until this week when we learned that Gregory is out as the planned moderator. In his place is Kelly Bennett. The only media source to report on this is the Sun Herald although they made no note of the change or why it happened. Republican sources on the Coast following the race maintain that Taylor was involved in Gregory’s removal, and I’ve been told that Taylor’s camp thought Gregory was “too anti-Pelosi.” One person joked and said that since Taylor no longer supports Nancy Pelosi, it would simply be a debate between three people who are anti-Pelosi. Bennett is seen as someone who is more friendly to Taylor.
Nevertheless, the change was made and Palazzo’s side didn’t really have room to negotiate that.
Then today, Taylor- after pushing for a change in moderator- sends out another scathing press release labeling Palazzo a chicken and saying that the Republican had backed out of tomorrow’s debate. Despite this, I have been told in the affirmative that the debate is still on.
Is Palazzo happy with the changes? Undoubtedly not. But it takes a lot of nerve to throw your weight around to make changes and then complain if the other side isn’t happy with those new arrangements.