Georgia Senate runoff debate

By Melissa Macaya

Updated 10:46 PM ET, Sun December 6, 2020
18 Posts
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8:59 p.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Warnock won't say if he supports expanding the Supreme Court

From CNN's Caroline Kenny 

Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock did not give a direct yes or no answer when asked several times if he supports expanding the Supreme Court.

Asked the first time, Warnock used his response to say “People aren’t asking me about the courts and whether we should expand the courts. I know it's an interesting question for people inside the beltway to discuss.”

Pressed again by the reporter asking the question, Warnock again didn’t give an answer.

“I’m really not focused on it. And I think that too often the politics in Washington has been about the politicians,” Warnock said, before continuing his response by talking about his focus on Georgians getting Covid-19 relief and health care. 

10:07 p.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Loeffler does not answer multiple questions on whether she thinks Trump attacking Gov. Kemp is wrong

From CNN's Caroline Kenny

Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler sidestepped the question on whether President Trump attacking Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and inviting Rep. Doug Collins to run against him in 2022 was wrong.

Loeffler used an often repeated line, saying, “The President has the right to pursue every legal recourse to make sure that this was a free and fair election in Georgia. And we know that these audits have turned up thousands of votes that were initially uncounted. And I’ve called for a signature audit.”

The questioner followed up, asking if the President was wrong when he called the governor those remarks.

She again avoided giving a direct answer, and said she appreciates both the President and the governor’s support of her candidacy and that they both are encouraging Georgians to vote for her and Sen. David Perdue in the runoffs on Jan. 5.

“Look, the President – I appreciate the President's support of me and I appreciate the governor's support of me. They both understand what's at stake in this election. That's why they're encouraging Georgians to get out and vote for David Perdue and myself because we're fighting for Georgians every single day,” Loeffler said.

The questioners then tried one more time, and this time asked it in a different way – asking if her loyalty lies with Gov. Kemp or President Trump.

Again, Loeffler did not answer the question she was asked.

“My loyalties are with Georgia. I had a calling to public service to serve the people of Georgia,” Loeffler said in response.

8:46 p.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Loeffler says she denounces threats of violence against election officials

From CNN's Caroline Kenny

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Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler was asked about the remarks made by Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling last week saying that the threats of violence need to stop and if she has made an effort to help lower the temperature on behalf of the Republican Party.

Loeffler responded by saying, “As someone who has been the subject of threats of violence, I absolutely denounce it.” 

Loeffler continued her response by repeating her line that Georgians need to trust the election process and that there are many investigations ongoing that need to be looked into.

“I’m gonna fight to make sure that we hold officials accountable for carrying out free, fair, trusted elections that are accurate,” Loeffler said.

Watch the moment:

8:19 p.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Loeffler questions Warnock on his sermon saying you can't serve both God and the military

From CNN's Caroline Kenny

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Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock was questioned by his opponent, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, about past comments he made about not being able to serve both God and the military.

Warnock defended his remarks, saying they came from a scripture he was quoting and he called out Loeffler for using her advantage as a Senator to make millions while playing it down to people she represents in Georgia.

“I was preaching that day from very familiar Matthew text that said you can’t serve God and Mammon. It was a sermon about a moral foundation for everything that we do. And that when you have everything in order, that actually makes you better solider. It also makes you better senator. And had Kelly Loeffler listened to the sermon, rather than trying to make a cheap political point, she would not have used her advantages as US senator to make millions on a pandemic while playing it down to the people she was supposed to be representing,” Warnock said.

Loeffler then responded by saying she knows the verse he references in the Bible, and she then said Warnock has also used the Bible to justify abortion.

“I don’t need a lecture from someone who has used bible to not only justify attacking our military. That’s not in Matthew 6:24. It doesn’t say you can’t serve the military and God. But he’s also used the Bible to justify abortion. I cannot stand by and let Georgians not know who my opponent is, how radical his views are, and how he would fundamentally change our country. He’s out of step with Georgia’s values,” Loeffler responded.

Watch the moment:

 

10:03 p.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Loeffler challenged on criminal justice reform

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury and Caroline Kenny

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Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock challenged incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler on her stance on criminal justice reform following this year's civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Warnock said that he does not believe in defunding the police, but that criminal justice reform is necessary. 

"We need to make sure that we have an independent review process when civilians die at the hands of police," he said.

Loeffler was questioned about her comments calling the Black Lives Matter movement “fascist” and how taking that stance alienated members of the Atlanta Dream, the WNBA team she owns.

Loeffler was asked if that’s still her view. Loeffler didn’t give an answer to that question and instead pivoted to saying she stands with law enforcement while her opponent has called police officers out.

“The life of every African American is important and there is no place for racism in this country. But there are organizations whose number one goal is to defund the police. And we know that that hurts minority communities more than anyone. And we have to stand with our men and women of law enforcement,” Loeffler responded.

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9:58 p.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Warnock presses Loeffler on lack of Covid-19 stimulus relief

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

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Democratic Georgia Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock this evening took his Republican opponent Sen. Kelly Loeffler to task for the current stalemate in Congress over another round of financial relief for Americans suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Parrying accusations from Loeffler on his position on police reform, Warnock said the people of Georgia were much more concerned about paying their bills and feeding their families. 

"They're wondering when in the world are they going to get some Covid-19 relief," Warnock said.

"They haven't gotten any from Kelly Loeffler in months and when she had a chance to stand up for ordinary people, she thought $600 was too much," he said, referring to $600 per week supplemental jobless benefit that has been promoted by some Democrats in Congress. 

Republican leadership in the Senate is currently in negotiations with President Trump and Democratic leadership on a deal that could provide some relief for Americans before lawmakers head home for the holidays.

See the moment:

10:00 p.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Warnock questions Loeffler on dumping stocks at the start of the pandemic

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury and Caroline Kelly 

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Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock challenged Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler about dumping millions of dollars of stock at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and then calling an extra $600 of relief to Georgians counterproductive.

"I’ve been completely exonerated. Those are lies perpetrated by the left-wing media and Democrats to distract from their radical agenda," Loeffler said.

Warnock pushed back and said that if it were up to Loeffler, Georgians would not have received the $600 of expanded unemployment benefits provided by Congress.

"Kelly Loefflers' out of touch. She's thinking about people who are like her. And I'm okay with the fact that she wants to make money. I just think you shouldn't use the people's seat to enrich yourself. You ought to use the people's seat to represent the people," Warnock said.

Some background: Earlier this year, a number of senators came under fire for stock sales after Covid-19 tanked the stock market. Loeffler and others faced questions about why they were selling stocks in February, before the stock market took a nosedive as the outbreak spread across the US and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost roughly 30% of its value.

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9:54 p.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Both candidates say they will take a Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

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Georgia's incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and her Democratic opponent, Rev. Raphael Warnock, both said at tonight's debate that they would take a coronavirus vaccine, when it is ready and deemed safe. 

Warnock, who was asked the question first, said he would take and promote a vaccine, and also work to ensure underprivileged populations are not at the back of the line. 

"When our health professionals tell us that we have a vaccine that works and is effective and safe, I will take it," he said. "I will encourage the folks who listened to me, people who were in my church and in the community to take it."

"Also I will try to work hard as a senator to make sure that communities that are so often marginalized don't find themselves at the back of the line again," he added.

Loeffler said she would also take it, and used the opportunity to promote her relationship with the outgoing Trump administration.

"Absolutely," she said, when asked by the moderator if she would take and promote a vaccine. 

"I was with Vice President [Mike] Pence on Friday at the CDC, I could not be more proud of what we've done this year to deliver relief, but also get cures," she said.

"I'm going to encourage my fellow Georgians to stay safe, get that vaccine, and we have a great plan to prioritize those communities who need it most and we will make sure that that's carried out," she added.

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9:50 p.m. ET, December 6, 2020

Warnock presses Loeffler on whether she believes Trump lost the election

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

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Democratic challenger Rev. Raphael Warnock pressed Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler on whether or not she believes President Trump lost the election during tonight's debate.

"My question is actually pretty simple, yes or no, Sen. Loeffler: Did Donald Trump lose the presidential election?" Warnock asked.

Loeffler declined to directly address the question.

"President Trump has every right to use every legal recourse available," Loeffler said, adding that she is pushing for a signature audit in the state.

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