LISTEN: Georgia Republican Wayne Johnson speaks during the Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk-Young Debate Series runoff debates on June 9, 2024 after his opponent, Chuck Hand, abruptly left the stage. GPB's Orlando Montoya reports.

Chuck Hand leaves the Atlanta Press Club debate

Republican Chuck Hand left the stage during his debate with contender Wayne Johnson, a former official in U.S. Dept. of Education, whom he faces in a runoff election for Georgia's 2nd Congressional District on June 18, 2024.

Credit: Atlanta Press Club / GPB

A debate hosted by GPB's Donna Lowry Sunday included two Republican candidates currently in a runoff to represent Southwest Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District.

But the runoff debate, which streamed live from the GPB studios as part of Atlanta Press Club's Loudermilk-Young Debate Series and will air on GPB-TV June 10 at 5:30 p.m., was interrupted when one of the GOP hopefuls, construction supervisor Chuck Hand, walked out of it, after making a brief statement aimed at his opponent, a former Education Department official in Donald Trump’s administration, Wayne Johnson.

As Hand left the stage, Lowry asked, "You're not staying, sir?"

Watch the full debate here.

The broadcast recording continued without Hand — and only Johnson.

“Well I don’t know whether to take Chuck Hand’s departure from the stage as his withdrawal from the race or not but I certainly think it might be in that direction," Johnson said.

Speaking after his departure, Hand said he was “absolutely not” withdrawing from the race.

Hand was likely to face questions in the debate about his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the riot.

Voters in the largely Democratic district will decide the GOP race on June 18.

Whoever wins will be the underdog in the November election against Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop.