Incumbents No-shows for Atlanta Press Club Debates

Dave Williams

Friday, April 26th, 2024

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No incumbents have agreed to participate in this weekend’s Atlanta Press Club candidate debates ahead of next month’s primaries, which has the organization concerned.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Lucy McBath of Marietta and David Scott of Atlanta, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, and Georgia Supreme Court Justice Andrew Pinson have either declined to participate or have not confirmed their participation.

The press club is asking all of the invited candidates to confirm their participation by Friday.

“The Atlanta Press Club believes it is the responsibility of people running for public office to answer questions from their local media that will help inform voters before they cast their ballots,” the organization wrote in a statement released Thursday.

“If a candidate is running for public office, the candidate should be willing to participate in the democratic process, which includes attending debates and fielding questions from journalists and opponents.”

It’s the press club’s policy to represent any candidate who declines to participate in a debate by an empty podium.

McBath is being challenged in the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary by Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson and state Rep. Mandisha Thomas. A crowded field of six Democrats is opposing Scott in the 13th District.

Christian Wise Smith, a former Fulton County prosecutor who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for state attorney general two years ago, is running against Willis.

Pinson is being opposed in a nonpartisan state Supreme Court primary race by former U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat who represented Georgia’s 12th Congressional District from 2005 until 2015.