A debate standoff in Georgia’s 6th District race

It began about a week after the first vote in Georgia’s 6th District, when Democrat Jon Ossoff challenged Republican Karen Handel to six debates on the “issues that matter most” to voters.

Her campaign’s response left little room for interpretation: “We welcome any chance to highlight Jon Ossoff’s inexperience and are excited to have a robust debate on the issues.”

Fast-forward to Monday morning, when Ossoff said he has “confirmed” three debates: One with CBS-46, one with WSB-TV and a third hosted by the Dunwoody Homeowners Association.

Except that Dyana Bagby of Reporter Newspapers wrote last night that Handel had declined to attend the May 21 debate with the Dunwoody group.

Handel campaign spokesman Charlie Harper said the campaign is continuing to vet debate invitations and will soon release a debate schedule.

“Karen is looking forward to having several debates where she will highlight for Georgia families how Jon Ossoff’s dangerously liberal policies will increase taxes and put our national security at risk,” he said.

House Democrats quickly sent out a release slamming Handel for the apparent delay.

“Why doesn’t Karen Handel want to debate Jon Ossoff?” said Evan Lukaske of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Because the debate stage would reveal the stark difference between the two candidates for all to see.”

More recent AJC coverage of the 6th District race:

How the 6th District went from red to purple

A U.S. House record: Georgia’s 6th race costs $30M and counting

Paul Ryan to campaign with Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th race

A 6th District rift over the House healthcare plan in Tom Price’s old turf

Ossoff takes aim at disgruntled Republicans in Georgia’s 6th

Ahead of Georgia’s Sixth District contest, a May 16 test vote

Ossoff outlines $16B plan to slash ‘wasteful spending’

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