Democrat Jon Ossoff participated in what amounted to a strange political shadow boxing match Sunday when he climbed onto the debate stage alongside an empty podium.
Mr. Ossoff had hoped to land some public blows against Sen. David Perdue, but that opportunity escaped him after the incumbent Republican passed on the chance to square off with his Democratic rival before the Jan. 5 runoff race.
Still, Mr. Ossoff sought to make the most of Mr. Perdue’s absence, describing the incumbent as a “coward” and telling the audience his absence underscores his “arrogance.”
“My message for the people of our state, at this moment of crisis, is your Senator feels entitled to your vote, your senator is refusing to answer questions and debate his opponent because he believes he shouldn’t have to,” Mr. Ossoff said. “He believes this senate seat belongs to him. The Senate seat belongs to the people.”
Mr. Ossoff urged the audience to vote, reminding them that early voting starts in the state on Dec. 14.
“David Perdue has been getting rich in office and instead of taking public health expertise and guidance [on COVID] from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and getting that to the people and implementing it into policy, he was buying up shares in manufacturers of vaccines, and medical equipment, and he is not here because he is afraid he might incriminate himself in this debate.”
Mr. Perdue, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing on the investment front, was represented by an empty podium.
All eyes are on Georgia.
The runoff races there between Mr. Perdue and Mr. Ossoff, and Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock will decide whether Republicans maintain control of the new Senate when it convenes next month.