A planned May 21 Dunwoody Homeowners Association 6th Congressional District debate between Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff is off the table after Handel declined to participate.
DHA President Robert Wittenstein said at the May 7 meeting that he received a “hard no” from the Handel campaign due to a scheduling conflict.
Ossoff, who was at the DHA meeting to make a pitch to voters, said he was ready to debate. Candidates seeking office are invited to speak at DHA meetings.
Wittenstein did express skepticism of Handel’s reason for declining to join the debate.
“I heard [May 7] from the Handel campaign that they are not going to accept our invitation; the reason that they gave was they a have a scheduling conflict,” Wittenstein told about a dozen DHA board members who booed when they heard there was not going to be a debate.
“But the email exchange just prior to that was …their question of whether or not [the debate] would be open to the public or if it was going to be restricted to Dunwoody residents or members of the DHA,” he said. “When I told them it would be open to the public, the next response was we have a scheduling conflict.”
Added Wittenstein, “It is unclear to me if they have a scheduling conflict or whether the fact there was no vetting of who is coming determined they would not participate. But they gave us a hard no.”
Wittenstein said he has offered the Handel two other dates in June but has not heard back. The election is June 20.
On Monday, Charlie Harper of the Handel campaign released a statement: “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. We continue to work through debate invitations and will release our debate schedule soon.”
Wittenstein said at the Sunday meeting it “stinks” that it appeared there would be no debate because he looked forward to questioning Ossoff.
“Hey, man, I’m available,” Ossoff said. “Always up for it.”
When Wittenstein asked if he could put Ossoff on the spot and ask him a question, Ossoff said, “Go for it.”
Wittenstein then asked Ossoff about his talk of non-partisanship and asked him to name something Donald Trump has suggested or done that he supports.
“Well, he’s suggested a major infrastructure bill. I think we know now more than ever here in metro Atlanta that we urgently need renewal and transformation of our infrastructure.
“If there is a fiscally responsible infrastructure package that can deliver the solution metro Atlanta needs to keep growing our local economy then I’ll work on a bipartisan basis to support it,” Ossoff said.
“I don’t care about personalities attached to it or the party of those trying to move it forward,” he said.
Ossoff and Handel both participated in the April 9 DHA candidate forum when all 18 candidates were on the stage at the same time.
Watch Ossoff’s pitch at the DHA meeting below: