Fangate in Florida.

In the weirdest start of a gubernatorial debate, Florida Gov. Rick Scott initially refused to take the stage Wednesday night because Democrat Charlie Crist insisted on a fan to keep him cool.

The Republican governor finally emerged at least six minutes late as flummoxed moderators struggled on live TV to figure out what to do with a bemused Crist standing solo on stage at Broward College.

“Are we really going to debate about a fan? Or are we going to talk about education, and the environment and the future of our state?” Crist asked. “I mean, really.”

The sharp elbows started almost as soon as Scott walked out, looking rattled. His campaign contended “electronic” devices were not allowed in the debate. On stage, Scott went on offense quickly, but some of his supporters privately fretted the fan incident could be a defining and damaging moment for the incumbent in the final stretch of a close race.

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