Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Raphael Warnock, Democratic challenger for a U.S. Senate seat representing Georgia, participate in a debate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. December 6, 2020. Ben Gray/Pool via REUTERS

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Election fraud claims overshadowed the Georgia Senate run-off debate Sunday between Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Democrat challenger Rev. Raphael Warnock.

Loeffler reiterated unfounded voter fraud accusations and said President Donald Trump has a right to legal recourse, despite the president’s campaign losing court challenges in Georgia. 

Warnock criticized Loeffler, one of the richest members of Congress, for making stock trades following a coronavirus briefing in January. Loeffler refused to answer whether Congress members should be barred from trading stocks and dismissed criticism of stock trades as “a left-wing media lie.” Warnock drew ire from Loeffler, who called him a socialist or radical more than a dozen times in the hour-long debate.

Warnock avoided answering questions about expanding the Supreme Court, saying that average Georgians were more concerned with coronavirus relief. 

While both candidates displayed stark differences, they did agree on one point. Both Loeffler and Warnock said they would take a coronavirus vaccine when public health experts say it is safe.

Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff showed up to debate an empty podium after Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) declined to attend the event. Ossoff also criticized Perdue’s profuse stock trading, especially his trades made after coronavirus briefings while officials downplayed the effects of the virus.

Monday is the deadline to register to vote in the runoff election. The races hold the fate of the balance in the Senate. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler, who dumped millions in stocks following a private Covid-19 briefing, dodged a question about whether senators should trade stocks – Business Insider – 12/7/2020
Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who’s facing a runoff election in January, dodged a question at a debate on Sunday night about whether US senators should be permitted to trade stocks while they hold office. Loeffler, a multi-millionaire whose husband is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold millions of dollars in stocks shortly after she received a private briefing from health officials on the emerging coronavirus in January, prompting a Justice Department investigation, which didn’t lead to charges. Loeffler has said outside advisers handle her and her husband’s trades. 

WATCH: Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock Asked If He Will Denounce Past Support For Socialism – The Daily Wire – 12/7/2020
During Sunday night’s Georgia senatorial runoff debate, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) asked Democratic Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock if he would denounce his past statements in which he “repeatedly praised Marxism and the redistribution of income.” “Listen, I believe in our free enterprise system and my dad was a small business owner,” Warnock responded before launching into a speech about things he did as a pastor. Warnock suggested without evidence that Loeffler got her Senate seat through some sort of unethical means, saying that she “purchased that seat.”

During Debate Warnock Says Loeffler Lying On Him And Jesus – Essence – 12/7/2020
Reverend Rapahel Gamilial Warnock played both offense and defense during Sunday night’s debate against Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-GA. Appointed by Governor Kemp to temporarily replace the seat left vacant by Isackson, Loeffler struggled to say why voters should vote for her opting instead for repeated attacks on the popular faith leader. 

Loeffler Wouldn’t Admit That Trump Lost The Election During Debate – Talking Points Memo – 12/7/2020
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) refused to admit that President Donald Trump lost the election during a Sunday night debate, a day after Trump falsely declared himself the winner of the state at her and Sen. David Perdue’s (R-GA) campaign rally. Loeffler got the first question of the night, about whether she believed that the election was rigged and supported Trump’s call for the legislature to hold a special session to somehow overturn the results.

David Perdue’s empty podium at Georgia runoff debate with Jon Ossoff prompts flurry of memes, jokes – Newsweek – 12/7/2020
Republican U.S. Senator David Perdue and Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate Jon Ossoff were supposed to go head-to-head in a debate on Sunday, but Purdue declined to attend the event at the Atlanta Press Club, leaving Ossoff debating with an empty podium. Ossoff is hoping to replace Perdue as senator for Georiga in the January runoffs and has encouraged his supporters to vote early. However, rather than sparking a conversation about the candidates and their policies, yesterday’s debate had viewers talking for all the wrong reasons.

Since David Perdue Wouldn’t Show Up, Jon Ossoff Debated Himself – Slate – 12/6/2020
Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in one of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs, was supposed to debate his opponent on Sunday. But Republican incumbent David Perdue decided not to show. According to the rules of the debate host, the Atlanta Press Club, if any candidate refuses to participate in its debate, the debate moves forward, with no-show represented by an empty podium. This left Ossoff in a doubly advantageous position. Not only would he get a half-hour of free solo airtime, but he’d also get to say his piece next to a literal symbol of Perdue’s fragility.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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