Katelynn Singleton, Campus Carrier editor-in-chief

Peter Merrill, Campus Carrier news editor

From Sunday Oct. 16 to Tuesday Oct. 18, the Atlanta Press Club hosted the Loudermilk-Young debate series. The series provided an opportunity for all candidates currently running for office in Georgia to present their policies to Georgians.

The debate has three rounds, led by a moderator who leads the debate and multiple panellists who ask questions. The moderator introduces the candidates, before beginning with the first round. In the first round, each candidate is asked at least one question by a panellist. The second round allows candidates to ask at least one question to at least one opponent. The candidates who asked the question are given time to make a rebuttal. In the final round, panellists will again ask a question to the candidate of their choice until time is up, with the moderator giving candidates permission for a rebuttal. The candidates each end with a closing statement.

Incumbent Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) debated her Democrat challenger, Marcus Flowers on Oct. 16. The two candidates are running for the congressional seat for District 14, a district that represents northwest Georgia including Rome and Floyd CountyGreene has risen to prominence in Republican politics due to her promotion of extremist conspiracy theories. 

Following Flowers’ answer to the first question of the first round, in which he stated that he became involved in politics due to the events of January 6 and Greene’s involvement in them, Greene asked for a rebuttal.

“You cannot accuse me of insurrection,” Greene said. “I was a victim of the January 6th riot just as much as any other member of Congress.”

As a result of this rebuttal, the two candidates began talking over one another, resulting in the moderator, Karen Greer from WSB-TV in Atlanta, reminding the candidates to move on to the next question. 

Following the third question, Flowers sought to provide a rebuttal to Greene’s answer of bringing money via grants to District 14 sheriff departments. The rebuttal resulted in the candidates once again talking over one another, leading Greer to remind the candidates of the rules once again and to press them to move forward with the questions. This cycle repeated multiple times during the 30-minute debate, with Greer at one point stating the candidates microphones were going to be cut.

Topics discussed during the debate included Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), immigration, LGBTQ issues and the defund the police movement. 

Incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) debated Chase Oliver (L) on Oct. 16, following the debate between Greene and Flowers. Hershel Walker, the Republican candidate, was invited to the event but declined to participate, and so was represented by an empty podium. 

Georgia has runoff laws, which dictates that should a candidate not receive at least 50% of the vote, the two most popular candidates will compete for votes again. Because of this, Oliver could force a runoff if he accrues enough votes, and so his presence at the debate was more influential than third party candidates in other states.

Warnock emphasized that he was willing to work with both Republican and Democratic politicians but remained firm on his support for President Biden’s efforts to pardon student loans.

“I know that without student loans, I wouldn’t be standing here,” Warnock said. “We need to reform the system so that we get control over the costs. But I will show up every time for the young people in this state.”

Warnock also addressed Walker’s empty podium, bringing up Walker’s history of alleged abuse and violence towards women. Walker also allegedly paid for his ex-girlfriend’s abortion, despite campaigning on a hard-line anti-abortion platform.

Oliver stressed the importance of gun rights, not voting on party lines and combating inflation.

“Getting the budget under control is [important for combating inflation], Oliver said. “When we have a balanced budget and are keeping our fiscal house in order, we’re not printing dollars out of thin air and thus devaluing our currency and making inflation even worse than it already is. Every Georgia household has to get their budget in order, we should make that same demand of our government.”

Warnock brought up his accomplishments in the Senate, such as capping the price of insulin, helping to pass the Inflation Reduction Act and working to fight climate change.

“In the church we call it creation care,” Warnock said. “We ought to be kind to the earth, it’s the only place that we have, and we have to make sure we have a planet to leave to our children. I’m glad that we passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which represents massive investment in a green energy future. In addition to that, I’ve been very involved, leading the way with the creation of electric vehicle infrastructure right here in the state of Georgia.”

Warnock emphasized the importance of Social Security and said that corporations need to pay their fair share of taxes. He repeatedly alluded to Walker’s absence and indicated that his failure to show up meant that he was not fit to be elected.

On Oct. 17, Gubernatorial incumbent Brian Kemp (R) debated challengers Stacey Abrams (D) and Shane Hazel (L). Issues discussed during the debate included abortion, healthcare, student debt and inflation. Just as with Oliver, the presence of the Libertarian candidate, Hazel, was part of the discussion. Hazel repeatedly interrupted and challenged the two major party candidates and made the case for an increase in third-party candidates. 

Posted by Campus Carrier

Leave a Reply