- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Fewer than 89,000 votes separate Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue and his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff - or roughly 27,000 votes less than Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel received.

Mr. Hazel’s 2.3% of the vote would be enough to put either big party candidate over the 50% hump in the runoff slated for Jan. 5, but Mr. Hazel isn’t in an endorsing mood.

Instead, he would like to moderate a “conversation” - he does not want to bill it a debate - between the two candidates. So far, however, he has received no takers from myriad Georgia outlets he said he has contacted.

“There might be a path forward here,” he said, in terms of the choice his voters may presumably make between Mr. Perdue and Mr. Ossoff.

“I’m afraid of Jon Ossoff and his progressive, socialist agenda, but (libertarians) are better on rights and constitutional government than David Perdue,” Mr. Hazel said. “Things have gotten far too polarized and we need to have an open, 1-hour conversation on what we should be doing in D.C.”

The battle between Mr. Perdue, who is seeking his second term, and Mr. Ossoff, who has not held elected office, is one of two Georgia senate runoffs that are expected to attract a national spotlight.

In the other, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who beat back a campaign by conservative Republican Rep. Doug Collins, will square off against the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat who was the top vote-getter in what amounted to a jungle primary.

Astronomical sums are likely to be spent on the runoffs, as the two races thus far have already topped more than $100 million in spending. Conservative and liberal outside groups have already indicated they will be active in the Peach State between now and the new year.

But money won’t make the difference, Mr. Hazel said.

“We spent basically zero,” he said. “They spent $100 million on spots while we were black-balled by social media and we still got more than 100,000 votes.”

It was unclear Tuesday if the vying campaigns would accept Mr. Hazel’s offer that, he said, would move the runoff “away from talking points and spear campaigns.” Neither Mr. Perdue’s nor Mr. Ossoff’s campaign responded quickly Tuesday to request for comment.

On Monday, Mr. Ossoff, who now trails Mr. Perdue by a 49.7% to 47.9% margin, challenged the incumbent to three runoff debates.

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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