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

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.