WASHINGTON -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) almost refused to participate in a debate Wednesday night when his opponent, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) brought a small fan onstage. Scott eventually agreed to participate, but he might not have known that Crist has tried the tactic to rattle debate opponents before.
In August 2006, Crist reportedly also brought a fan onstage during a debate during the Republican gubernatorial primary. Crist’s opponent, Tom Gallagher objected to Crist having the fan onstage. (Crist was then a Republican, but then became an independent in 2010, before becoming a Democrat in 2012.)
"That's not fair," Gallagher told the moderators of the debate, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "Get another fan in here or I'm walking out." The Times reported that debate organizers found another fan and each of the candidates took turns standing in front of it as they spoke.
Staying cool in Florida also seems to have long concerned Crist. In 2008, the Orlando Sentinel reported that he took a small fan with him when he traveled.