Conversations with the Candidates

Nov 5, 2018

This election season, WGCU invited all candidates after the primaries to come to the station for a conversation on Gulf Coast Live. Not everyone accepted that invitation, but those who did either came into the studio or joined the show by phone as their schedules allowed. Below is a list of links to those who we were able to talk with.

Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, came through Southwest Florida toward the end of the campaign with stops in Punta Gorda and Fort Myers. He was able to join us by phone a couple of days before he came to Lee County.

Listen to that conversation here.

Gillum’s Republican opponent, former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, didn’t respond to the invitation to talk on Gulf Coast Live, but he did visit Southwest Florida a week before the election as President Donald Trump campaigned for Republican candidates in the state at a “Make America Great Again” rally.

We were able to speak with DeSantis’ running mate, state Sen. Jeanette Núñez, by phone on Nov. 1.

You can listen to that conversation here.

The race to represent Florida’s 19th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives pits Democrat David Holden against incumbent U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Naples. While Rooney did not respond to the invitation to join Gulf Coast Live, Holden did. He spent almost the full hour with WGCU’s John Davis talking about issues and fielding listeners’ questions.

You can hear that conversation here.

In the race for Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Republican State Rep. Matt Caldwell faces Democrat Nikki Fried.

You can hear the conversation with Matt Caldwell here and the conversation with Nikki Fried here.

Florida’s 17th congressional district covers a large swath of central Florida, stretching from the eastern Tampa Bay area to the western edge of Lake Okeechobee and as far south as Northern Lee County. A different Democratic candidate was put on the ballot after the woman who won the primary, April Freeman, suddenly passed away. Allen Ellison was chosen by Democratic party leaders of the nine counties included in the 17th congressional district to take over the race. He’s taking on Republican Greg Steube.

We asked both candidates to come in or call for an interview on Gulf Coast Live and did not hear back from Steube. 

Ellison spoke with us via phone and you can listen to that conversation here.