Ossoff Out: After Talking Big Game, Georgia Liberal Dodges CNN Debate Ahead of Special Election

Guy Benson
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Posted: Jun 05, 2017 4:25 PM
Ossoff Out: After Talking Big Game, Georgia Liberal Dodges CNN Debate Ahead of Special Election

In a recent post about Democrats finally bagging a pair of special election legislative pick-ups in New Hampshire and New York last month -- which came just prior to a very flawed Republican defeating an even more flawed Democrat in Montana's special Congressional race -- I highlighted a poll out of Georgia showing liberal Jon Ossoff opening up a seven-point lead over conservative Karen Handel in the closely-watched GA-06 race. Voters in that traditionally-Republican but Trump-skeptical district (Romney won it handily, Trump barely) will choose their next Congressperson in a June 20th runoff. Peach State Republicans will openly concede that the contest is very close and will boil down to turnout, but they've pushed back hard against that particular survey, arguing that their internal numbers look neck-and-neck. Sure enough, a fresh poll taken just after Memorial Day weekend shows the race as a jump ball:

The latest exclusive WSB-TV, Landmark Communications poll of Georgia’s 6th Congressional District runoff election shows Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff are virtually neck-and-neck. The poll interviewed 500 voters on the phone and via online surveys. Ossoff holds a slight lead over Handel – 49.1 percent to 47.6 percent. But with a margin of error of 4.4 percent and 3 percent undecided, the race is truly anyone’s to win.

The Real Clear Politics average -- which includes the previous outlier, with all other polls well within the margin-of-error -- gives Ossoff a tenuous lead of two percentage points.  Having failed to secure an outright majority in April's initial election, the pro-Obamacare Pelosi Democrat challenged his Republican opponent to half a dozen debates.  After the GOP nominee declined to participate in one proposed debate in early May, Ossoff pronounced himself "available" and "always up for" a debate. Now, he's ducking forums, abandoning his 'let's debate six times!' bravado.  On second thought, how about two?  And definitely not on CNN:

Democrat Jon Ossoff has declined to take a series of Sixth District debates with Republican Karen Handel to the national stage, sending word that he will not participate in a June 13 Atlanta Press Club event that CNN had proposed to broadcast. That means the only likely televised comparisons between the two candidates will occur next week: Tuesday on WSB-TV and Thursday on WABE-TV/PBA 30, an Atlanta-based PBS station...Shortly after his first-place finish in April, Ossoff had challenged Handel to six debates. Handel countered with four dates last week. One of them was the proposed confrontation sponsored by CNN and the APC...Handel’s campaign scoffed at the decision. “We know why a caricature candidate who has spent more than $10 million on TV ads suddenly doesn’t want the exposure of a national audience,” said spokesman Charlie Harper. “His fictitious narrative and flimsy resume won’t stand up to scrutiny.”

By referring to Ossoff's "fictitious narrative and flimsy resume," the Handel campaign is no doubt seeking to highlight the young liberal's dubious posture as a fiscal hawk, and his habitually-exaggerated "national security" credentials.  And Republicans rarely miss a chance to point out that the vast majority of Ossoff's flood of campaign donations have arrived from out of state, including a critical mass from left-wing California (especially the San Francisco Bay area).  Perhaps CNN could sweeten the pot for Ossoff in an effort to make him feel more at home by offering to hold the debate somewhere other than the Sixth Congressional District, where the Democrat does not actually live.  I'll leave you with a few positive television ads from the Handel campaign, one of which refutes the inevitable Democratic attacks that she -- the only woman in the race -- is weak on "women's health:"


And here's the National Republican Congressional Committee portraying Ossoff as unserious, dishonest and beholden to his party's far-left leadership: