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Florida
gubernatorial candidates clash over gay issues

Florida
gubernatorial candidates clash over gay issues

Florida gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and U.S. representative Jim Davis clashed on issues ranging from tax reform plans to adoption by same-sex couples in a debate Monday night. Davis, a Democrat who has served in the U.S. House since 1997, and Crist, who became Florida's first elected Republican attorney general in 2002, are vying to replace Republican governor Jeb Bush. Reform Party candidate Max Linn also participated in Monday's debate. Bush cannot seek reelection because of term limits. Davis said he will lower property taxes by forcing lawmakers to rescind some of the tax breaks passed during Bush's administration, a plan that Crist criticized. ''There have been $20 billion of special interest tax giveaways over the last eight years,'' Davis said. ''I'll go back and repeal some of those.'' ''Let me tell you exactly what my opponent just said: He wants to raise your taxes,'' Crist said. The two also disagreed on whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt. Crist opposed the idea, and Davis said a judge should be allowed to decide whether adults are fit to adopt. Linn said he thought adoption by gay couples was OK. Florida currently bans gay individuals and couples from adopting. All three candidates said they opposed same-sex marriage. Davis said voters are tired of Republican leadership, which fired up Linn. ''Jim, what you left out is they're also tired of the Democratic party,'' Linn said. ''They're tired of the two-party system that doesn't represent them.'' Davis has kept the race close despite Crist's name recognition and financial advantages. The Crist campaign has spent about $16 million through October 20, compared with $4.7 million spent by the Davis campaign. Linn, who used to run a financial services firm, has spent $1 million of his own money on his third-party effort. His campaign has received little attention, except when he landed a small plane on Interstate 4 near downtown Orlando and was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. He had to fight his way into Monday's discussion, winning a court ruling from a federal judge so he could participate. (Brendan Farrington, AP)

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