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Dyana Bagby Posted by on May 8, 2017.

Karen Handel declines Dunwoody group’s debate with Jon Ossoff

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:



25 Responses to Karen Handel declines Dunwoody group’s debate with Jon Ossoff

  1. Tiffany

    May 8, 2017 at 8:02 am

    So, basically like everything else with the current ‘Republican’ party, it’s all secrets and lies. WHY would any worthy candidate not want to debate??? All she does is send out hateful mailers and spread lies in her tv ads. Instead, I would like to hear her plans for supporting our district.

  2. D Randall

    May 8, 2017 at 9:04 am

    TL;DR – Candidate with barely a high school education scared to debate an educated Georgetown-grad debater.

    In other news, water wet. More at 11!

  3. Teri Singer

    May 8, 2017 at 9:09 am

    It’s pitiful that Handel can’t be bothered to be at one single debate. I think her camp is aware that she is incapable of keeping up with Jon Ossoff in a head-to-head on the issues, just like other Republicans who are afraid to face their constituents. It is disrespectful to Georgians who deserve to know who they may put into office. Shame on you Karen Handel!

  4. Sandi

    May 8, 2017 at 9:16 am

    We Dunwoody Citizens want to see a debate. What is Karen hiding?

  5. Tara F

    May 8, 2017 at 9:29 am

    As a GA-06 voter, I would really like to hear what they both have to say in an open forum. Thank you for following this – I am disappointed that two debates have been cancelled now. Will there ever be one?

  6. Julie franklin

    May 8, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Thanks for covering this, a debate would be great. Keep us posted.

  7. Mary Beth Lyles

    May 8, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Great article!Thanks for keeping informed on this topic.

  8. Kate

    May 8, 2017 at 10:23 am

    “A conflict” — this invitation was extended within days of the jungle primary. Handel and her team are being coy – they know there is no way she’d come across well in debate, and they want to limit her exposure to the negative ads that her dark-money supporters are sponsoring on her behalf. No Handel, no way. If she can’t come speak to me, she doesn’t earn my vote.

  9. Kate

    May 8, 2017 at 10:34 am

    What’s she so afraid of? This speaks volumes.

  10. Lori

    May 8, 2017 at 10:35 am

    If this is an indication of her commitment to the constituents, I’d take this as a heads up. She is already ducking the hard conversations. Make all the critical ads for tv that you want, but if you can’t go face to face with your opponent, that says a lot. Handel has declined 6 requests for debate. Is she afraid?

  11. Charles

    May 8, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Same ol’, same ol’. Handel can’t debate because she’s being ‘handeled’ by her good ol’ boy consultants. We need to flip this district and get fresh eyes on the issues at hand. We’ve seen Handel over and over and over again and I guess being fired from her last job is just too much to defend in an open debate. Run like a chicken Karen.

  12. Patricia Gresham

    May 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Considering the people she has managed to personally offend with 1) slurs against gay people; and 2) slurs against Black people’ and 3) general support for Trump and his Republican Henchmen, who is surprised that, like most if not all Republicans these days, she wants the fat dinners, fancy cars and parties of the job but does not want to confront the actual constituents in the district. Don’t vote for this witch – she’s a fraud.

  13. Kathie Lumberg

    May 8, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    As I read it, the debate attendance would be open to the public, not just 6th district voters. Oops, otherwise this would eliminate Mr. Ossof from attending. I gotta believe Ms. Handle to be of sound mind and body to choose to not go into that briar patch.

    • Lori

      May 8, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      His participation in the debate, as a candidate, has nothing to do with who is invited to attend the event. You know, as well as we all do, she isn’t attending this, nor any of the others to which she was invited, because she doesn’t want to debate. She can’t hold a candle to him one on one, and she knows it. If she felt she could, she would want to show it at a debate.

      • Lisa

        May 9, 2017 at 12:41 am

        Well said Lori!

  14. Keegan Torres

    May 8, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    I find it EXTREMELY distressing that she will not debate. They are really keeping her under lock and key until the election.

  15. Ruth Musicante

    May 8, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    I was really looking forward to the debate. This will definitely influence my vote. I would suggest to the Handel campaign that they reconsider and clear their schedule.

  16. Lisa

    May 9, 2017 at 12:36 am

    If Handel isn’t willing to share her plans with us in the 6th to get our vote, imagine how she will dodge us if she is elected. Already hiding! This is evidence of just what she thinks of the people in the 6th. Enough with the adds Karen, if you want the people’s vote you have to work for it‼️

  17. Stu

    May 9, 2017 at 2:30 am

    You know, I was torn between the two candidates. I mean, one I agree with, and the other likes Trump. What’s a boy to do?

  18. ljdecker

    May 9, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Ossoff has a golden opportunity to turn that date into a town hall meeting to put forth his ideas and positions more fully and to answer questions from his proposed future constituency. It’s a great chance to show that he’s responsive, responsible and is able to quickly adapt to change and turn it around into something positive for the people of District 6.

  19. Sue S

    May 9, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I am very disappointed in Karen Handel … I really want to vote for her .

  20. Becky Gaunt

    May 9, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Already ignored constituents and deleted questions on policy from FB. Not surprising she won’t step up.

  21. Brian B

    May 9, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Why do you really want to vote for her?

  22. Paul

    May 10, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Do you really want to vote for either of these candidates? My answer is no.

    • Lori

      May 10, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Yes, absolutely.