“It’s hurting the voters who are not getting the opportunity to hear where their candidate stands,” the Atlanta Press Club wrote about Ossoff’s decision to skip the upcoming debate.
Democrat Jon Ossoff’s decision to skip an upcoming debate that would have aired on CNN is drawing backlash from the debate’s co-sponsor, the Atlanta Press Club, who said that Ossoff’s decision is “hurting the voters” in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District.
The debate was supposed to be held June 13 and would have aired on CNN, but Ossoff decided to pull out of the debate at the last minute.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Atlanta Press Club President Lauri Strauss said of Ossoff’s decision, “When one candidate chooses not to participate, it’s not hurting the Atlanta Press Club, it’s hurting the voters who are not getting the opportunity to hear where their candidate stands.”
Strauss said the Atlanta Press Club had been in talks with both Ossoff and Handel for the past six weeks and was officially notified that Ossoff would not be participating in the June 13 debate on Saturday night. Handel’s campaign agreed to the debate on May 31.
Ossoff had previously pushed his Republican opponent for more debates, saying that “part of bringing fresh leadership and accountability to Washington is to engage with as many voters as possible” and that he was “always up for” debates.
Sacha Haworth, a spokesperson for the Ossoff campaign, explained the decision to pull out of the debate: “Our statement on the CNN debate is that we are committed to debates moderated by members of the local metro Atlanta press corps, and unfortunately we did not come to an agreement on that with CNN.”
However, Ossoff had no problem going on CNN ahead of the primary, appearing on the network in an interview that highlighted how Ossoff himself doesn’t even live in the district that he is hoping to represent.
Strauss pointed out that while the debate would have aired nationally, “it would have focused on the topics and issues that are most important to the voters of the Sixth District.”
As for why CNN decided to partner with the Atlanta Press Club, Strauss said that “they knew that the Atlanta Press Club is a very respected journalism organization with a history of doing debates in Georgia.”
As the Free Beacon noted, Ossoff initially challenged his Republican opponent to six debates, saying that “publicly debating the issues…is paramount to ensuring that our democracy is as transparent and accessible as possible.”
As Election Day in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District draws closer, it appears Ossoff has changed his mind on the importance of debates, possibly because Ossoff wants to prevent another political gaffe so close to Election Day.
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