“I will listen to the public health experts,” Ossoff said. “And if they recommend that more aggressive mitigation measures are necessary to save lives. It would be foolish for politicians to ignore their advice.”
He also made his case straight to the camera about Perdue’s absence.
“My message for the people of our state, at this moment of crisis, is that your senator feels entitled to your vote,” Ossoff said.
In a first for a Senate debate, Ossoff also made an appeal to “the Tik Tok family out there.”
“Make a plan to vote,” he said.
In skipping the debate, Perdue missed not only the forum, but also what would have been pointed questions from reporters on the panel about a barrage of recent reports about his stock trades during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as his refusal, like Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s, to publicly acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect.
Perdue’s decision not to show up means that there will likely be no runoff debate between the two at all. Perdue’s staff has said the senator wants to use his time focusing on meeting with Georgia voters instead.
The senator is a first-term Republican seeking re-election and was forced into the runoff with Ossoff when he finished just shy of the 50% mark that Georgia law requires for an outright win. Perdue won 49.7% of the vote, to Ossoff’s 47.9%.
Ossoff and Perdue debated two times in the general election, when Libertarian Shane Hazel was also included.
Following the debate, Perdue’s campaign manager Ben Fry released as statement, that Ossoff had “lost a debate against himself.”
Fry also Fry hammered the Democrat’s comments about tougher COVID measures and Ossoff’s call for comprehensive immigration reform.
“These are serious times and Jon Ossoff just showed how unserious -- and unprepared -- he really is. Georgians will reject Jon Ossoff once again next month,” Fry said.