Contentious 6th District debate: What’s true; what’s erroneous

The GOP candidate made the comment during Tuesday’s debate.

ATLANTA — It lasted 60 minutes and featured numerous contentious moments.

Now, 11Alive is digging into the most discussed and disputed comments from Tuesday’s 6th District debate between Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff. 

And no comment has been more discussed online than one from Handel.

“This is an example of the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative,” Handel said. “I do not support a livable wage.”

Her comment about not supporting a livable wage lit up the left-wing blogosphere and was defended by conservatives.

The original question was: “Do you support an increase in the minimum wage?”

And there’s a big difference between a minimum and living wage.

The minimum wage is the lowest wage an employer can legally pay an employee. It is set by law, whether federal, state or local. The living wage is the estimated hourly wage you would need to cover basic costs of living for you and your family.

It varies by location and in the 6th District it’s much higher than the mandatory federal minimum wage of $7.25. This is per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Living Wage Calculator. The living wage for an adult with no kids is about $12 an hour. For two working adults with two kids, it’s about $15.45.

In 2016, a YouGov poll found 59 percent of voters favored raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour. An estimated 48 percent support raising it to $15. And 78 percent support raising it in some capacity, including most Republicans. Handel spoke out against a livable wage this time, but she made her feelings on the minimum wage clear during a previous race.

“The federal government has absolutely no business being involved in mandating salary and wages in the private sector,” she said “None whatsoever.”

Ossoff’s team is banking on last night’s statement becoming a rallying point for voters. They tweeted about it almost immediately following the debate. It’s been shared nearly 1,000 times.

Meanwhile, there are other statements from Handel’s camp regarding Ossoff that we’re putting under the microscope.

The first claim: Handel saying to Ossoff, “My opponent has more donors and more dollars coming from outside the state of Georgia – California, New York, and Massachusetts.”

Unfortunately, the most recent campaign contribution reports only run through the end of March. But we can tell you that, as of that date, Handel’s statement holds up. We found just 6 percent of Ossoff’s donors through March live in Georgia. And he had received more donations at that time from California, New York, and Massachusetts than from Georgia.

So, we’ll verify that statement as Verified: True.

However, Ossoff responded that “Many more Georgians have contributed to my campaign than Secretary Handel’s campaign.”

As of the end of March, this is also accurate. Ossoff raised millions from out-of-state, but he also received 1,575 contributions from the state of Georgia. Those donations raised nearly $600,000. So Ossoff’s claim is also Verified: True.

Part of this is because of the massive number of donations Ossoff received in the first quarter of the year. That was more than $25,000 overall to Handel’s 374. So even though most of Ossoff’s donations came from places other than Georgia, he still raised more money in the state than his current competitor in the Congressional race.

© 2017 WXIA-TV

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