Democrat Jon Ossoff, Perdue’s opponent, presented his arguments to an empty podium Sunday, as Perdue declined to participate in the televised debate.

On Sunday, Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue had the opportunity to lay out their respective platforms before Georgians. Perdue, however, was a no-show, while Loeffler refused to acknowledge President Donald Trump’s loss.

The debate took place ahead of Monday’s registration deadline to vote in the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs, which will determine whether Republicans or Democrats hold a majority in the chamber. President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to advance his legislative agenda hangs on the outcome of these elections. 

Democrat Jon Ossoff, Perdue’s opponent, presented his arguments to an empty podium Sunday, as Perdue declined to participate in the televised debate. The last time the two faced off, Ossoff took the Republican to task on allegations of corruption and insider trading. 

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According to the New York Times, Perdue reportedly made 2,596 trades in one term, nearly a third of all Senate trades in the last six years, including many companies under his Senate subcommittees’ oversight. During the early days of the pandemic, he also sold off millions in stocks of a technology company at $86 a share, then bought them back weeks later at $30 a share, recouping staggering gains with seemingly impeccable timing.

“Your senator is refusing to answer questions and debate his opponent because he believes he shouldn’t have to,” Ossoff said, calling Perdue “too much of a coward” to engage in public debate. “He believes the Senate seat belongs to him. The Senate seat belongs to the people.”

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Meanwhile, during her debate with Rev. Raphael Warnock, Loeffler walked an odd ideological tightrope: She refused to acknowledge Trump’s defeat in the presidential election but stressed the importance of maintaining Republican control of the Senate. In doing so, she implicitly admitted that Biden will hold executive power.

″Everything is at stake in this election, the future of our country,” Loeffler said. 

On at least five different occasions, the senator was asked if she supported Trump’s false narrative that the election was rigged, and she sidestepped each time. “It’s very clear that there were issues in this election,” she replied, stating repeatedly that Trump has “every right to every legal recourse.” 

Warnock also zeroed in on his opponent’s stock transactions, which were timed inexplicably with the rise of the coronavirus pandemic.

“You dumped millions of dollars of stock in order to protect your own investments and then weeks later, when there came an opportunity to give ordinary Georgians an extra $600 of relief, you said you saw no need and called it counterproductive,” he said

A day earlier, both Perdue and Loeffler attended a rally held by Trump, intended to drum up support for them ahead of the election. Instead, the president spent much of the evening focusing on his own issues, repeating baseless claims of election fraud, and leveling more attacks at Republican state officials, who certified a victory for Biden in Georgia on Monday for a second time.

READ MORE: Georgia’s Senate Runoffs Could Have Life or Death Stakes for Many Americans