From The Nation
Sunday night's Georgia Senate debate between appointed Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock is attracting national attention. Rightly so; the Loeffler-Warnock race is one of two January 5 contests that will decide control of the Senate.
What's weird is that there won't be a debate between the candidates in the other January 5 race: Republican Senator David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff.
Perdue and Ossoff were also supposed to face one another Sunday, just before Loeffler and Warnock. But Perdue refused the invite from the Atlanta Press Club, as he has refused other debate invitations during the high-stakes runoff campaign.
Why? He's afraid. Ossoff shredded Perdue in their last debate before the November 3 election. Referencing complaints that Perdue had engaged in self-serving stock trades during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, when senators were being briefed on COVID-19's potential impact but before the danger was widely understood, Ossoff explained during an October 28 debate:
"Perhaps Senator Perdue would have been able to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic if you hadn't been fending off multiple federal investigations for insider trading. It's not just that you're a crook, senator. It's that you're attacking the health of the people that you represent. You did say COVID-19 was no deadlier than the flu. You did say there would be no significant uptick in cases. All the while, you were looking after your own assets and your own portfolio."
The exchange went viral, to devastating effect. Ossoff, who is mounting his first statewide race, surged in the days of the campaign and forced the runoff.
Now, Perdue fears that another debate -- or if Ossoff had his way, many debates -- could create a surge that sweeps the Republican from office.
That's a legitimate concern on the part of a senator whose troubles have mounted since the runoff campaign began.