Republican Candidate in Georgia Runoff Refuses Debate After Learning It Will Be Open to the Public

“Run and hide and make excuses” is apparently part of Karen Handel’s strategy to win the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. Two weeks ago, Handel’s spokesperson responded to Jon Ossoff’s call for six debates by saying that “We welcome any chance to highlight Jon Ossoff's inexperience and are excited to have a robust debate on the issues.” But that’s not how it played out when the Dunwoody Homeowners Association tried to get Handel to schedule a debate:

“I heard [May 7] from the Handel campaign that they are not going to accept our invitation; the reason that they gave was they a have a scheduling conflict,” Wittenstein told about a dozen DHA board members who booed when they heard there was not going to be a debate.

“But the email exchange just prior to that was …their question of whether or not [the debate] would be open to the public or  if it was going to be restricted to Dunwoody residents or members of the DHA,” he said. “When I told them it would be open to the public, the next response was we have a scheduling conflict.”

Added Wittenstein, “It is unclear to me if they have a scheduling conflict or whether the fact there was no vetting of who is coming  determined they would not participate. But they gave us a hard no.”

As a general rule, if you have a scheduling conflict, you just let people know rather than first asking a bunch of questions about unrelated details. It’s like if you invited me to dinner on Friday, and I asked what you’d be serving, then announced I had a scheduling conflict when your answer was lutefisk and durian. Only Handel isn’t looking for a polite out from eating lutefisk and durian—she’s trying to avoid facing questions in front of the public. So far her campaign hasn’t given any answer when offered two other dates for the proposed debate. In fact, it’s not clear Handel will do any debates at all. So much for “we welcome any chance and are excited to have a robust debate.”

Ossoff, for his part, showed how willing he would be to participate by taking a question from the Dunwoody Homeowners Association president right on the spot.

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