ATLANTA — Republican Senate hopefuls Jack Kingston and David Perdue pitch to voters in their own words — and challenge each other — in a televised debate Sunday.
It will be their final statewide opportunity before the runoff votes are counted July 22.
Their confrontation is the capstone in a series of half-hour runoff debates organized by the Atlanta Press Club and airing statewide by Georgia Public Broadcasting that also features congressional and school-superintendent races.
Ad spending in the Kingston-Perdue runoff has topped $11 million, blanketing news, sports and entertainment programing with an array of attacks on both men attempting to say what the other believes. So, the debate will give them a chance to speak for themselves.
It will also give them a chance to answer questions from a trio of professional journalists selected for their experience, objectivity and skill. Although the editorial writers at some of the organizations they report for may make political endorsements, the Press Club’s Debate Committee limits participation to unbiased reporters from the areas of the state voting in a given race.
“The Atlanta Press Club is known for organizing debates that are fair and balanced for all candidates,” said Lauri Strauss, executive director of the club. “We carefully select a diverse group of journalists to serve on the panels to ensure each candidate has an equal opportunity to share their views and what they hope to accomplish if elected into office.”
All but one of the candidates has agreed to participate. Brian Reese, a candidate in the First District congressional runoff for the Democratic nomination, declined because of long-standing prior commitments. As a result, the air time for that session will be halved as his opponent, Amy Tavio, fields questions from the journalists.
For television scheduling reasons, the First District debates will air Wednesday night.