Jon Ossoff debated an empty podium and called Sen. David Perdue a 'coward' for skipping the debate one month ahead of the Senate runoff election

  • Democrat Jon Ossoff debated an empty podium Sunday night in Atlanta, Georgia after his opponent, Republican Sen. David Perdue, declined to participate in the event.
  • Ossoff is challenging Perdue in the Georgia Senate runoff election on January 5, which will determine which party takes control of the US Senate.
  • After sharing what he would've asked Perdue had he appeared at the debate, Ossoff said, "If the senator were not too much of a coward to debate in public, then that's what I'd ask him," he said.
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Democrat Jon Ossoff debated an empty podium Sunday night in Atlanta, Georgia after his opponent, Republican Sen. David Perdue, declined to participate in the event.

Ossoff is challenging Perdue in the Georgia Senate runoff election on January 5, which will help determine which party takes control of the US Senate.

A debate moderator asked Ossoff what he would've asked Perdue had the senator agreed to appear at the debate.

"I think what I would ask him is why he continues to oppose $1200 stimulus checks for the American people at this moment of crisis," Ossoff said. "Why he fought against them in the first place, and why he isn't in Washington right now championing direct financial relief."

"If the senator were not too much of a coward to debate in public, then that's what I'd ask him," he said.

Ossoff also said his opponent may be concerned about incriminating himself over personal financial investments that have come under scrutiny. The senator has denied any wrongdoing. 

When Perdue declined to participate in the debate, his campaign manager, Ben Fry, told The Associated Press, "We've already had two debates in this election."

"We're going to take our message about what's at stake if Democrats have total control of Congress directly to the people," he said.

Perdue appeared at a campaign event Saturday night alongside President Donald Trump, who spent much of the time contesting his own election results, and GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who is also running in the runoff election.

Unlike Perdue, Loeffler did participate in a debate with her challenger, Democrat Raphael Warnock, on Sunday. She again declined to acknowledge that Trump lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden.

Democrats need to win both runoff races to take control of the Senate, something experts says Biden may need in order to accomplish much of his policy agenda at the outset of his term.

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