Published: Oct 21, 2010 7:06 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 21, 2010 4:06 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Loranne Ausley is angry that her opponent for chief financial officer refuses to debate her.

A former Democratic state representative, Ausley on Thursday called Senate President Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach "a coward" who has reneged on earlier commitments to debate. Ausley said it's unconscionable voters won't be able to evaluate the candidates for the statewide office that oversees the state's treasury, insurance department, fire marshal's office and department of banking and finance.

Ausley said she wants Atwater to "man up" and join her for a debate next Wednesday in Miami.

The Atwater campaign, which has earlier cited scheduling conflicts, did not immediately respond to Ausley's latest and most assertive challenge.