Atlanta Press Club to host Georgia Senate runoff debatesDemocratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff and U.S. Senator David Perdue (Republican)
By Raisa Habersham
The Atlanta Press Club will host the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff race debates on Sunday, setting the stage for a national bout that will decide if Republicans retain control of the Senate.
Republican Incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democratic Candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock are set to face off from 7 to 8 p.m. Dec 6. The debate will air live on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Six-term senator David Perdue declined an invitation to debate Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, who is confirmed to participate in the debate at 5 p.m. Sunday. Per the press club’s rules, they will proceed with the debate and Perdue will be represented by an empty podium.
“That is not our preference. The Atlanta Press Club works hard to provide a platform for all candidates running for public office,” the organization said in a press release about the debates. “We believe it is an essential part of the democratic process for voters to have an opportunity to hear an exchange of ideas from the candidates so they can be better informed when they cast their ballots.”
This is the second time Perdue has declined or canceled a debate against Ossoff. After two debates against Ossoff in October, Perdue canceled a third and final debate against his opponent before the general election in Georgia.
Ossoff had drawn attention at the earlier Oct. 28 debate, their second debate, where he criticized Perdue for protecting his own financial interests (a dig at insider trading allegations against the incumbent) and failed to protect residents from COVID-19. On Oct. 29, Perdue canceled their third and final debate scheduled for Nov. 1.
While Perdue and Loeffler both sold off stock right before the COVID-19 pandemic took a hit on the economy, both denied it was tied to insider trading claims.
Apart from COVID-19 concerns, the unfounded claims of voter suppression in Georgia on the part of the Republican Party have dominated headlines in the weeks leading up to the debates and will likely take center stage.