Democrat Jon Ossoff declines a Sixth District debate on CNN

Democrat Jon Ossoff has declined to take a series of Sixth District debates with Republican Karen Handel to the national stage, sending word that he will not participate in a June 13 Atlanta Press Club event that CNN had proposed to broadcast.

That means the only likely televised comparisons between the two candidates will occur next week: Tuesday on WSB-TV and Thursday on WABE Radio/PBA 30, an Atlanta-based PBS TV station.

A June 15 debate on WSB Radio that’s co-hosted by the North Fulton Chamber remains a possibility.

APC President Lauri Strauss this morning confirmed Ossoff’s decision to skip the CNN debate in a statement that includes this:

Republican Karen Handel. HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM

The Atlanta Press Club has a 25-year history of providing Georgia voters fair and balanced debates through its Loudermilk-Young Debate Series.

 

We regret Jon Ossoff has declined to be a part of this debate, which would have helped inform the voters of Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District and engaged viewers around the country.

Shortly after his first-place finish in April, Ossoff had challenged Handel to six debates. Handel countered with four dates last week. One of them was the proposed confrontation sponsored by CNN and the APC.

Strauss’ statement did not say why Ossoff had decided to avoid a side-by-side comparison on national TV, but an email from Ossoff spokewoman Amy Mesner to Mark Preston, CNN’s executive director for political programming, provides a hint:

Hi Mark,

 

We’re committed to participating in debates moderated by members of the metro Atlanta press corps, so unfortunately Jon will not be attending the proposed debate on June 13th. Sorry we couldn’t come to an agreement.

 

Thanks,

Handel’s campaign scoffed at the decision.

“We know why a caricature candidate who has spent more than $10 million on TV ads suddenly doesn’t want the exposure of a national audience,” said spokesman Charlie Harper. “His fictitious narrative and flimsy resume won’t stand up to scrutiny.”

Ossoff’s campaign pointed to a May 31 statement in which he repeated his support for six local debates and “expressed disappointment” that Handel declined to participate in a showdown hosted by CBS 46.

As we’ve pointed out before, Ossoff has had a strategy of keeping his personal message local, concentrating on federal spending and economic development. The Democrat left it to others, including high-spending Super PACs, to characterize his campaign as a protest against the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

That separation, his campaign might be thinking, would be harder to maintain under questioning that would have likely been dominated by national correspondents from CNN

Reader Comments 2

13 comments
bendellman62
bendellman62



Trump takes half the money away from vets he wanted to help.Shulkin sucks obsessed with moving VA money around like deck chairs on the titanic. why throw 8,000 vets over 80 off VA pensions to get a little more money to squander on the money pit VA.It's another single payer scam. Trump is incapable of filling all his vacancies.Choosing Shulkin for the VA sec. was a mistake but  Trump got lazy and conned by Shulkin Veteran"s  unemployability


CL Jones
CL Jones

No way he wins, he couldn't even get 50% during a crowded GOP field to avoid the runoff. He's a liar and joke. He's afraid to take place in a national debate but is proud of being a CA pawn.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@CL Jones You run and get 50% against 10 repubs and 3 dems! Are you math challenged?

It's the Economy Stupid
It's the Economy Stupid

Why's Handel scared to participate in local debates? For all her talk about being a (supposedly) homegrown perennial politician, she's the one who keeps trying to nationalize this race by bringing in WAY more Washington, DC, negative PAC money than he's using. Now, she only wants to debate if it's with the national press corps on CNN. How stupid is that?


Ossoff's doing the right thing by sticking to local debates with local press corps. He could be spending all his time trashing Trump, but instead he's focused on growing high-tech jobs in the district. What a breath of fresh air! 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@It's the Economy Stupid Oh and what does she specifically stand for or any positive thing she has proposed. Her ads are all history and the pacs are all slander and lies. Other than backing Trump, what does she stand for and ....why? Agreeing with a person is easy until YOU have to explain your thought process.

Dave
Dave

What is "Nancy" Ossoff hiding?  Certainly the left leaning CNN would favor the leftist Ossoff in the debate.

MASR
MASR

Looking at the "true" past records and work history of both candidates, Handel is clearly the most qualified candidate.

Celtic Golfer
Celtic Golfer

@MASR I have to disagree, her history has not been good for the 6th, she has the politics for a statewide office but not for the educated and diverse 6th. She's quit several elected roles including Sec of St to run for Gov, and she was a brutal disaster at Susan G Komen.  She's barren of any new ideas, a very shop worn candidate, and will only reflect Trump's nonsense.

NativeAtlantaGirl
NativeAtlantaGirl

I abhor Trump, and quite frankly, not a fan of Handel... that being said, do any of his supporters actually look as his completely non-committal non-positions on virtually everything?

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  1. […] to nationalize this race by making  it a referendum on President Trump. So it is surprising that Ossoff declined to debate Handel on a national stage. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Ossoff will not participate in a June 13 Atlanta Press […]

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  2. […] to nationalize this race by making  it a referendum on President Trump. So it is surprising that Ossoff declined to debate Handel on a national stage. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Ossoff will not participate in a June 13 Atlanta Press […]

    Like