Georgia Senate candidates to meet in only one head-to-head debate before Election Day

Top campaign officials from Republican Johnny Isakson and Democrat Jim Barksdale's campaigns met earlier on Wednesday to discuss the debate schedule after the latter challenged the two-term incumbent to six one-on-one matchups across the state of Georgia.

The two camps did not reach a deal on those, and Isakson's campaign announced the Republican would be participating in only one debate: The Atlanta Press Club's. That debate will be taped relatively close to the election, on Friday, Oct. 21, and will presumably include all three candidates for the position, including Libertarian Allen Buckley.

The Atlanta Press Club's format allows for candidates to ask questions of their opponents, which could lead to some fireworks.

Isakson's campaign put out this statement:

Barksdale's Campaign Manger Dave Hoffman said it is "clear" Isakson "is not working for the people of Georgia and he doesn't want to talk about it." Hoffman invoked the same rhetoric the Barksdale campaign has used in recent weeks to criticize Isakson's record on Capitol Hill:

The debate will air on Georgia Public Broadcasting on Oct. 23. Early voting begins six days prior.

This will be Barksdale's second time participating in an Atlanta Press Club-sponsored debate this year and Buckley and Isakson's first. The latter opted out of the only televised debate ahead of the GOP primary in May, citing a scheduling conflict and the criminal history of competitor Derrick Grayson, a libertarian-minded challenger who had made some particularly blunt comments about Isakson's political motivations following his Parkinson’s diagnosis.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...