Democrat John Ossoff led a solo senatorial debate on Sunday night, speaking to an empty podium while blasting Sen. David Perdue (R) for refusing to attend.
On Jan. 5, Ossoff and Perdue will face off in one of the two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia that will determine which party controls the chamber.
On Sunday night, Russ Spencer, Fox 5 Atlanta evening anchor, introduced the candidates, with the camera showing an empty podium as he spoke about Perdue.
Spencer immediately explained that Perdue “declined to participate.”
Last month, Perdue had said that he would not attend the event.
Ossoff lashed out over Perdue’s absence, saying, “The reason that we are losing thousands of people per day to this virus is because of the arrogance of politicians like David Perdue – so arrogant that he disregarded public health expertise and so arrogant that he’s not with us here today to answer questions.”
Ossoff continued, “It shows an astonishing arrogance and sense of entitlement for Georgia’s senior U.S. senator to believe he shouldn’t have to debate at a moment like this in our history.”
The Democratic candidate also claimed that Perdue did not attend because he did not want to “incriminate himself,” bringing attention to Perdue’s controversial record of stock activities throughout the pandemic.
The Perdue campaign denies allegations of insider trading and has said that Perdue has been exonerated by Officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and others.
During the debate, during the regular part where political participants exchange questions and answers, Ossoff was asked what he would ask Perdue.
Ossoff said that he would ask “why he continues to oppose $1,200 stimulus checks for the American people at this moment in crisis, why he fought against them in the first place and why he isn’t in Washington right now championing direct financial relief.”
“If I had the opportunity to ask the senator a question, if the senator were not too much of a coward to debate in public, then that’s what I’d ask him,” Ossoff added.
Ossoff also added, “[it’s] a strange situation to be asking a question of a sitting United States senator who is not here to debate as he asks for the votes of the people to be reelected.”
Perdue had opposed stimulus checks sent out to Americans earlier this year, but he later voted for the $2 trillion relief package, which included stimulus checks.