Washington, DC (CNN)Democratic Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff warned on Sunday that if Republicans hold onto the chamber next year, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would cause “paralysis” at a time of crisis when the government needs to act to help struggling Americans combat the economic impact of the coronavirus.
“We all know what’s going to happen if McConnell holds the Senate — he will try to do to (Joe) Biden and (Kamala) Harris just like he tried to do to President (Barack) Obama. It will be paralysis, partisan trench warfare, obstructionism as far as the eye can see at a moment of crisis, when we need strong action,” Ossoff told CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union Sunday.Ossoff emphasized the need for a functioning government at a time when Americans in Georgia and across the country are struggling to feed themselves, keep their businesses open and are facing potential evictions and foreclosures. The fate of the Senate majority lies in the Georgia, where two January runoff elections will determine which political party controls the United States Senate. Republicans currently control the chamber with McConell at the helm, but if Democrats win both seats, there would be a 50-50 tie in the Senate, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could serve as a tiebreaker.Ossoff faced Republican Sen. David Perdue in November, and neither candidate received the more than 50% of vote needed to prevent a runoff. They will face off again on January 5 in a runoff election. Read MoreMAP: See 2020 election resultsThe Department of Justice opened a probe into Perdue earlier this year, after his stock sales raised questions of possible insider trading, but the Department of Justice ultimately declined to pursue charges, according to the New York Times.In response to the allegations against Perdue, Ossoff has called his opponent a “crook.”When asked Sunday if calling Perdue a “crook” is a fair accusation, given that the Department of Justice found no evidence of crime and did not pursue charges against Perdue, Ossoff doubled down on his claim and added that Perdue needs to explain himself for his financial behavior. “I think that a sitting US senator exploiting his office, exploiting his access to privilege and information, exploiting his power to enrich himself while his own constituents are suffering and dying, absolutely makes Senator Perdue a crook,” Ossoff told Bash. “And he is afraid to come out and debate me because he won’t answer these charges because he can’t defend the indefensible,” Ossoff added.Perdue turned down an invitation from the Atlanta Press Club to debate Ossoff on December 6, and will instead be represented by an empty podium. Perdue also drew fire after withdrawing from a debate with Ossoff just before Election Day. Ossoff rose to national prominence during a 2017 special House election, in which Ossoff, a political newcomer at the time, nearly won in a longtime conservative stronghold in Georgia. He ultimately lost to Republican Karen Handel in what was at the time the most expensive House race in history. CNN projected Joe Biden the winner of Georgia, becoming the first Democratic presidential nominee in 28 years to win the state in a presidential election. Bill Clinton won the state in 1992. Biden’s historic success was fueled by grassroots organizing and a rapidly diversifying electorate, and was a culmination of slow and steady gains in the state by the Democratic Party.The other closely watched race in Georgia is between Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.