Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue is apparently not going to debate his Democratic competitor, Jon Ossoff. While Ossoff invited Perdue to another debate ahead of the January runoff election, the incumbent decided that he would decline the invitation.
Details of Proposed Debate: The debate had been scheduled for December 6. The Atlanta Press Club had planned to host two separate debates for each of the state’s Senate runoff elections. Although Ossoff’s camp said that they had accepted the invite from the Press Club, Purdue’s campaign did not indicate that they were going to participate. This prompted Ossoff to refer to Perdue as a coward for not engaging in the discussion.
This is not the first time that Perdue has backed out of a debate. The two had previously been scheduled to debate just days before the election when Perdue pulled out at the last minute. Rather than participating in the event, Perdue chose to attend a rally for President Donald Trump in northwest Georgia.
Past Debate: Perdue and Ossoff previously met on the debate stage in the days leading up to the election. Ossoff was not shy about accusing Perdue of being a crook. In this debate, Ossoff brought up the fact that Perdue bought stock in a company specializing in personal protective equipment (PPE) on January 24, coincidentally the same day that the senator received classified information detailing the threat of the COVID-19 virus.
In addition to the vast differences in political philosophy, there is also a significant age gulf between the two candidates. Perdue is 70 years old while Ossoff is 33 years old.
Details of the Runoff: Ossoff and Perdue will compete in the state’s special Senate runoff election on January 5. Per Georgia state law, a runoff election must be held if neither candidate is successful in garnering at least a 50% majority of the vote during the regular election. In addition to the Perdue and Ossoff runoff, the state’s second Senate competition between incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock is also being sent to a runoff.
These two special elections carry extremely high stakes in the nation’s overall political landscape. The current Senate tally stands at 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats. Should the Democrats in Georgia overturn both of these Senate seats, the party will enjoy control of the Senate with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaker vote.
In addition to the Perdue and Ossoff debate, the Atlanta Press Club confirmed that they issued invitations to the Loeffler camp and Warnock’s team for a separate debate. While Warnock has tentatively agreed to the terms of the debate, the Press Club is still awaiting confirmation from Loeffler and her team.