Democrat Jon Ossoff declined to participate in a debate with Republican Karen Handel that would have been broadcast nationally on CNN ahead of Georgia’s 6th Congressional District’s runoff special election.
The debate would have taken place on June 13 at the Atlanta Press Club, but Ossoff’s spokeswoman told CNN that Ossoff would commit only to debates moderated by “the metro Atlanta press corps,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
The only two debates that are scheduled to occur so far are one on WSB-TV on Tuesday and a second on Thursday on WBAE-TV, Atlanta’s PBS station.
After coming in first place in the initial special election in April, Ossoff challenged Handel to six debates, but Handel declined one of them. Now Handel supporters are slamming Ossoff for declining the CNN one.
The Southern Region Young Republicans tweeted it showed he was “not ready for prime time.”
“Maybe if CNN lets him dress in ‘Star Wars’ attire he’ll reconsider,” the group said, alluding to an opposition ad showing Ossoff dressed as Han Solo.
Atlanta Press Club President Lori Strauss said she was disappointed that Ossoff declined the event.
“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,” she said.