A planned CNN debate on Tuesday between the two Florida candidates for U.S. Senate – Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott – has been postponed as the state continues to respond to Hurricane Michael.

Both campaigns have agreed to the postponement, according to a statement from CNN.

"A date and time for the rescheduled debate will be announced soon," the statement read.

The debate, scheduled to be held in Tampa and moderated by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, would have been the second one between both candidates. Nelson and Scott participated in an hour-long debate on Oct. 2, hosted by Telemundo 51/WSCV in Miami, where both took turns attacking the other.

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This combo image shows at left: Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "See Something, Say Something: Oversight of the Parkland Shooting and Legislative Proposals to Improve School Safety" on March 14, 2018. (Photo by SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE.) At right: Florida Gov. Rick Scott, center, speaks during a news conference at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Four Office, on Aug. 22, 2018. (WILFREDO LEE/AP)
USA TODAY

Most polls show the contest – which could decide whether Republicans maintain control of the Senate – a virtual toss-up.

Scott's campaign had asked CNN for the postponement, saying the governor was "solely focused on response and recovery efforts" related to the hurricane, a Category 4 storm that pummeled the Florida Panhandle. 

"Floridians deserve the chance to see candidates debate so they can judge their leadership skills, experience, and differences," Scott's campaign manager, Jackie Schutz Zeckman, said in a statement. "Governor Scott looks forward to debating, but will have no time for campaigning in the next few weeks as he focuses exclusively on recovery efforts for the foreseeable future."

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Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott shake hands at the first Senate debate in Miramar, FL on Tuesday.
Ivan Apfel for NBCUniversal/Telemundo

A request for comment to Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin was not immediately returned.

But The Hill newspaper quoted McLaughlin as telling them that Nelson's priority was storm response and recovery as well.

"Sen. Bill Nelson is in Florida's Panhandle today and is working with federal authorities to get the maximum amount of resources into the state as soon as possible to help those who have been hardest hit by Hurricane Michael," McLaughlin told the newspaper in an email. "Now is not the time to discuss politics."

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