With Georgia’s special congressional election contest between Republican Karen Handel and newcomer Democrat Jon Ossoff essentially tied in current polls, Ossoff has announced that he won’t face his opponent for a Televised Debate. After losing the last two post-Trump special elections, Democrats seem to have put all their eggs (and money) in one basket held by the 30-year-old, little-known documentary filmmaker. On June 20, Georgia’s Sixth District will either elect an experienced Republican or a virgin Democrat who doesn’t even live in the district and refuses to participate in a major televised debate.

Debate phobic or inexperienced?

Georgia's Six District consists of well-heeled suburbanites and middle-class voters north of the Atlanta who went for Trump last November and by a much wider margin for Mitt Romney in 2012. While debates can be risky business for any politician, the CNN-televised cable news venue would have provided the equivalent of millions of dollars in free exposure for both candidates. Now, Handel will surely exploit the Democrat’s fear of confrontation, likely tying it to his lack of experience in business and political affairs.

Democrats invest heavily in Ossoff

Democrats and their allies have spent $11.3 million promoting Ossoff and have effectively defined him as a dam erected to stop a raging stream of losses from further humiliating the party.

Democrats also think an Ossoff victory will convince supporters that their anti-Trump message is all they need to win. On November 8, Democrats were soundly defeated in state houses, gubernatorial races, and Congressional races all around the country while Republicans retained control of the House and Senate and won the White House.

Since, Democrats have lost special elections in Montana and Kansas while the Republicans seated a conservative as Supreme Court justice.

Democrats nervous

Ossoff sending word that he will skip the June 13 Atlanta Press Club event that CNN had proposed to broadcast has top Democrats nervous. While left-leaning pundits say ducking the debate eliminates potential mistakes by a political unknown, pundits on the right say the move makes Ossoff seem amateurish and unsure of himself.

Republicans also say the fact that Ossoff does not actually live in the Sixth District could become a major issue in a televised debate. The Democrat candidate has said he will move back into his district after his girlfriend finishes school if he wins.

In early May, Ossoff pronounced himself "available" and "always up for" a debate. It is not clear what changed his mind just when a series of local debates would culminate in a nationally televised event.

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