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Perdue declines to participate in debate with Ossoff ahead of Georgia Senate runoff

Sen. David PerdueDavid PerdueNikki Haley unveils PAC ahead of possible 2024 White House bid McConnell has said he thinks Trump committed impeachable offenses: report Trump's legacy is discord and division MORE (R-Ga.) will not participate in a debate with Jon OssoffJon OssoffThe Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other This week: Tensions running high in Trump's final days Harris resigns Senate seat ahead of swearing in as VP MORE, his Democratic challenger in one of two Georgia Senate races headed for a runoff in January, the incumbent's campaign said.

Perdue's campaign informed the Atlanta Press Club, which was set to host a debate early next month, that the senator would not attend, according to CNN.

The Democratic challenger took aim at Perdue following news that he had declined to participate, dubbing him "David 'empty podium' Perdue."

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"The runoff in Georgia is an extension of the November 3rd general election, where 52 percent of Georgians voted against Jon Ossoff and his radical agenda. Perdue had a commanding first place win, outpacing Ossoff by over 85,000 votes — in nearly every other state, Perdue would have been re-elected already," Perdue's campaign manager told CNN in a statement.

Perdue led Ossoff by fewer than 100,000 votes following an initial tally in Georgia.

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Georgia's two Senate seats could decide the balance of power in the Senate, as a 50-50 split would give the deciding vote to the incoming vice president, Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSenate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks Empire State Building lights on eve of Biden inauguration to honor COVID-19 victims READ: Harris letter resigning from Senate ahead of inauguration MORE.

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrested Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Trump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, Brazil MORE (D) holds a narrow lead over President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE in Georgia, which is set to conduct a hand recount of presidential ballots. The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the race, although other news outlets had projected the former vice president as the victor in Georgia.  

--Updated at 9:50 a.m.