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WJCT Hosts First Televised 2015 Jacksonville Mayoral Debate

First Coast News

WJCT Public Broadcasting is partnering with First Coast News and The Florida Times-Union to provide voters with a comprehensive look at the 2015 mayor's race. 

Jacksonville 2015: Mayoral Debate will air Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m. on WJCT-TV 7 and 89.9 FM and online at It will also simulcast on WJXX ABC 25 and on and

Three candidates will appear in next week's debate: Bill Bishop, Lenny Curry and incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown. A committee made up of representatives from each of the partner media organizations developed the guidelines and procedures for this debate on Feb. 11, 2015. All qualified candidates were invited on the stipulation that they receive 5 percent support in the University of North Florida political science poll. Polling results were released this week, and the fourth mayoral candidate, Omega Allen, did not meet that threshold.

WJCT "First Coast Connect" host Melissa Ross will moderate the debate, and the panel of journalists includes First Coast News anchor Shannon Ogden and Florida Times-Union reporters Rhema Thompson and David Bauerlein. Candidates will be asked where they stand on issues such as pensions, downtown development, crime and the city's human rights ordinance. 

You can see the full list of guidelines and procedures below: 

Mayoral Debate Guidelines and Procedures

  1. The debate will be Mar. 12, 2015, at WJCT Studios, 100 Festival Park Ave., Jacksonville, Florida 32202.
  2. The debate will be carried live from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on WJXX ABC 25, WJCT Channel 7 and on 89.9 FM and streamed live at, and
  3. Each campaign may bring up to 5 people.
  4. A makeup artist will be available to each candidate.
  5. The debate will occur on a stage with a podium for each candidate and one table with a panel of reporters.
  6. The podium position will be determined by a random drawing.
  7. Candidates must poll at 5 percent in UNF Political Science poll to be included in the debate.
  8. Video, audio and still photographs of the debate are the sole property of the debate sponsors.
  9. Candidates, their campaigns and other parties are prohibited from using them in any form.
  10. At the conclusion of the debate, candidates may address reporters at a location at WJCT.
Karen found her home in public broadcasting after working for several years as a commercial television reporter. She joinedWJCTin 2005 as the host of 89.9 FM’s Morning Edition and has held many different roles at the station in both radio and television. She has written and produced documentaries includingBeluthahatchee: The Legacy of Stetson Kennedy and Jacksonville Beach: Against the Tide and directed the oral history project, Voices of the First Coast.