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Sen. Loeffler welcomes debate request from Dem opponent in GA runoffs

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Incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) appears to have accepted her opponent’s request to debate him before their January 5 runoff election for the U.S. Senate race. This comes as Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), the Peach State’s other incumbent senator who also faces a runoff election on the same day for his Senate seat, declined to debate his respective opponent, Democrat Jon Ossoff, according to CNN.

Monday evening, Loeffler appeared on the Fox News program ‘The Ingraham Angle’ and said that she would “welcome” another debate with her “radical” opponent, Reverend Raphael Warnock (D), before the runoff of their special election for the Senate.

“We had a debate,” Loeffler said. “I had the opportunity in that debate to show how radical his agenda is, and we are just getting started. So I welcome that opportunity to also show what I’ve done for Georgians since getting into the Senate in January.”

“I’ve hit the ground running, delivered for Georgians during the pandemic to bring relief, and also holding people accountable, like Raphael Warnock for their comments supporting folks like Fidel Castro, inviting them into his church [while] at the same time criticizing police officers,” Loeffler continued.

“Georgians need to know who he is,” she added, “and I welcome the chance to debate him as many times as he wants.”

The twin runoff elections for Georgia’s two Senate seats will determine which political party controls the Senate for the next two years.

Ossoff had said that six media outlets invited him to debate Perdue, which Ossoff accepted, and then publicly called on Perdue to accept the challenge to debate him at the Atlanta Press Club on December 6.

Because none of the candidates in either Senate race got more than 50% of the vote, state law requires that a runoff election is held between the two highest vote-getters in each race.

In a statement, Perdue’s campaign manager Ben Fry said that there had already been two debates before people first voted on November 3 and that Ossoff can pay for himself to be on television.

“In each (debate), Ossoff lied repeatedly,” he said.

“If Ossoff wants to keep lying to Georgians on TV,” Fry added, “he will have to use his out-of-state money to pay for it.”

Both Ossoff and Warnock appeared together at an event on Sunday in Marietta, Georgia. There, Ossoff called on Perdue to debate him, saying, “Imagine being a sitting U.S. Senator, too much of a coward to debate your opponent in public.”

Ossoff also said that “we will proceed with the debate and Sen. Perdue will be represented by an empty podium.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Elections

BREAKING: IL judge orders state election board to remove Trump from primary ballot

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Cook County Judge Tracie Porter issued a lengthy ruling Wednesday which orders the state election board to remove former President Donald Trump from the Illinois primary ballot on March 19. Porter wrote Trump is disqualified from the presidency due to his actions relating to the January 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Porter said she was aware her “decision could not be the ultimate outcome,” given that higher courts will have a chance to weigh in; she also put her order on hold until Friday in anticipation of an appeal.

The Chicago Sun Times reports that the State Board of Elections voted unanimously last month to reject the same bid to block Trump from Illinois’ ballot under the 14th Amendment. But Porter found the board’s decision to be “clearly erroneous.”

The 14th Amendment bars from “any office, civil or military, under the United States” anyone who previously took an oath as an “officer of the United States” to support the Constitution but then engaged in “insurrection or rebellion.”

Trump’s lawyers have told the U.S. Supreme Court the amendment doesn’t apply because the president is not an “officer of the United States” under the Constitution and because he did not engage in “anything that qualifies as ‘insurrection.’”

According to the Chicago Sun Times, the “U.S. Supreme Court is poised to rule on the controversy soon — and appeared skeptical of the arguments to kick Trump off Colorado’s ballot. The clock is ticking on the nation’s high court given that Colorado’s primary election is Tuesday.” Porter also said her order would be put on hold if the Supreme court’s ruling is ultimately “inconsistent” with hers.

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