The race for the seat now held by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is one of the most closely watched Senate contests in the nation and could determine whether the GOP continues to control the chamber. Rubio has announced he’s not seeking re-election after running for president — but his Senate colleagues are trying to persuade him to change his mind before ’s June 24 candidate qualifying deadline.

The debate is being hosted by former Sen. George Lemieux‘s Center for Public Policy at PBAU and the Palm Beach County Young Republicans. WPEC Channel 12 and broadcasters around the state will televise the debate, according to an announcement from PBAU.

Former Sen. George LeMieux (right) and Palm Beach Atlantic University president William Fleming announced the creation of the LeMieux Center for Public Policy Friday, December 7, 2012 at Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Warren Library in West Palm Beach. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach Atlantic University will host a televised debate of Republican Senate candidates on Aug. 23 — one week before Florida’s primary.

With Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (upper left) announcing he won’t seek re-election, Republicans Carlos Beruff, Ron DeSantis, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, David Jolly and Todd Wilcox have opened campaigns for his seat.