Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) has declined an offer to debate his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff ahead of the Georgia runoff election that will determine the balance of the Senate, according to The New Yorker and CNN.
According to CNN, MaryLynn Ryan, the chair of the Atlanta Press Club, said the incumbent Republican Georgia senator declined its invitation for the debate that it planned to host between Perdue and Ossoff. The Atlanta Press Club also plans to host a separate debate for the Senate runoff between Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and her Democratic challenger, Rev. Raphael Warnock.
Ossoff’s campaign told CNN they have accepted the Press Club’s invitation, which doubles down on his request last week for Perdue to “come out of hiding” by participating in three televised debates before their runoff election on January 5.
Ossoff slammed Perdue again in a Sunday tweet in response to the incumbent Georgia senator’s rejection of the Atlanta Press Club’s debate invitation.
Looks like Sen. David Perdue is too much of a coward to debate me again.
Perdue can’t defend his lies about COVID-19, self-dealing stock trades, his bigotry, or his votes to take away Georgians’ health care.
Senator, come on out and try to defend your record. I’m ready to go. https://t.co/OONfwSjylt
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) November 15, 2020
Earlier this month, Perdue abruptly pulled out of his scheduled debate against Ossoff days before Election Day, and decided to join President Trump at his Georgia rally on the night it was originally scheduled instead.
Perdue’s decision to call off their debate happened a day after Ossoff roasted Perdue in a scathing takedown during their debate last month that went viral. Ossoff called Perdue a “crook” and grilled him over the legal trouble the Georgia senator has had with his business and his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement shared with TPM on Sunday, Perdue’s campaign said that the Georgia senator and Ossoff already had two debates in this election, before going onto criticize Ossoff.
“We’ve already had two debates in this election. In each, Ossoff lied repeatedly, and of course the media failed to hold him accountable,” Perdue’s campaign said. “He refused to talk about the issues and could not defend his radical socialist agenda. If Ossoff wants to keep lying to Georgians on TV, he will have to use his out-of-state money to pay for it. We’re going to take our message about what’s at stake if Democrats have total control of Congress directly to the people.”
Following Perdue’s and Ossoff’s tight Senate race that resulted in neither of them being able to garner 50% of the vote on Election Day, resulting in a runoff election in January, the Georgia Republican has egged on President Trump’s falsehoods of widespread election fraud. Perdue joined Loeffler last week in demanding that Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger resign.
Raffensperger dismissed the Georgia Republican senators’ call to resign in a lengthy statement.
“Earlier today Senators Loeffler and Perdue called for my resignation,” Raffensperger said. “Let me start by saying that is not going to happen.”