Dec 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's election misinformation casts shadow over Georgia Senate debate

Combination images of Democratic challenger the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Sen. Kelly Loeffler

Combination images of Georgia Democratic candidate the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) refused to say during her Georgia Senate runoff debate with Democrat the Rev. Raphael Warnock Sunday whether she agrees with President Trump's baseless claims that the presidential election was rigged.

Why it matters: Some Republicans are concerned that Trump's claims may hurt the party ahead of the two Jan. 5 Senate elections runoffs in Georgia that will decide which party will hold the Senate majority.

  • This is Loeffler and Warnock's only scheduled debate before the runoff.
  • While Loeffler refused several times to say whether Trump lost the election, she said: "Everything is at stake in this election, the future of our country."

Details: When asked whether she supports President Trump's baseless claims that he won the presidential election, Loeffler said: "It's vitally important that Georgians trust our elections process and the president has every right to every legal recourse and that’s what’s taking place."

  • Warnock criticized Loeffler for "casting doubt" on the legitimacy of President-elect Biden's election win.

Of note: Georgia election officials have certified the state's presidential election results.

What else they're saying: Loeffler repeatedly referred to Warnock as a "radical liberal" and accused him of being "out of step with Georgia's values."

  • Warnock said he wants to "make sure that we center ordinary people in all the policy we do." "You can't tell the difference between Washington back rooms and corporate boardrooms. My opponent represents the worst of that kind of problem," he said.

For the record: The other runoff contest is between Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue declined to debate Ossoff, so he appeared alone at the press club earlier beside an empty podium.

  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be the tie-breaker in any party-line votes.

Go deeper: Don Jr. tells Georgia Senate voters that Trump is on the ballot

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details from the debate and further context on the presidential election.

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