Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue Skipped His Re-election Debate, So His Opponent Squared Off Against An Empty Podium

The 2020 election season isn’t quite over. No, we’re not talking about the outgoing president who refuses to concede, even after having his butt handed to him by dozens of courts. We’re talking about the Senate runoff in Georgia, which is set for January 5 and which might end with the Republicans — and its infamous leader Mitch McConnell — losing control of the chamber. Trump’s infamously bumbling team has been screwing that up, too; one of his lawyers actually told Republicans to boycott the election, which is…an interesting strategy. So is incumbent candidate David Perdue skipping one of his debates entirely, resulting in a noticeably empty podium.

Perdue is facing re-election against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, and the last time they squared off, in late October, Ossoff absolutely clobbered him, calling him a “crook” and accusing him of misleading his constituents about the severity of COVID-19. The next day Perdue — whose stiff non-response to the accusations went viral — swore he’d skip their subsequent debate. Perdue made good on that promise, but the debate still went off, only with a noticeably absent podium.

Shortly before the debate was scheduled to happen, Ossoff called his opponent out over Twitter.

And he tore into him during the debate itself. If Perdue’s plan was to allow the man who may take his job ample opportunity to attack him without a chance for him to respond, then he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

“David Perdue has been getting rich in office,” Ossoff told viewers, standing opposite a vacant podium. “And instead of taking public health expertise and guidance from the CDC and getting that to the people, and implementing policy, he was buying up shares and manufacturers of vaccines and medical equipment.”

Ossoff added, ““He’s not here because he’s afraid he may incriminate himself in this debate.”

The fact that Perdue skipped the debate awarded it even more attention than had he shown up. And it gave people on Twitter plenty of excuses to do some attacks of their own.

A lot of people reflected on that empty podium.

Some saw a perfect metaphor for Perdue’s reputation.

And some made sure to praise Ossoff for actually showing up.

Georgia’s other runoff race is between incumbent senator Kelly Loeffler and Democratic rival Raphael Warnock, who were set to debate after Ossoff and Perdue. To her credit, Loeffler plans to actually show up. Both Democratic candidates will have to win in order for the Senate to flip.