(JTA) — Sen. David Perdue, the Georgia Republican, canceled a final debate with his rival, Jon Ossoff, after moments from the last debate went viral, including one in which Ossoff accused Perdue of “lengthening my nose in attack ads to remind everybody that I’m Jewish.”
Ossoff was referring to ads that appeared this summer on Facebook in which his nose was lengthened, in a change that harkened to anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish noses. Perdue said the ads were “unintentional” in lengthening Ossoff’s nose, and his campaign removed them.
“First, you were lengthening my nose in attack ads to remind everybody that I’m Jewish,” Ossoff said. “Then when that didn’t work, you started calling me some kind of an Islamic terrorist. And then, when then that didn’t work you started calling me a Chinese communist.”
“Instead of leading and inspiring, he stoops to mocking the heritage of his political opponents,” Ossoff, the Democratic nominee, said when sharing a clip from the debate on Twitter Wednesday.
The video got a quarter of a million views by Friday. Another video grab from the debate, in which Ossoff accuses Perdue of insider trading for buying stock in personal protective equipment after a private January briefing for senators on the potential for a coronavirus pandemic, has gotten more than 12 million views. Perdue denies insider trading accusations.
Perdue on Thursday dropped out of the final debate, saying that congressional business had kept him from campaigning and he needed to make up the time. Ossoff lashed back and called Perdue a “coward.”
The race is considered a toss-up, and a crucial contributor to whether the Senate goes from a Republican to Democratic majority.