Illinois Candidates For Office Trade Accusations Days Before Primary


Illinois candidates for office will face a primary election next week. Some candidates are accusing their opponents of ducking debates.

US Senate Democratic Primary Race

Democratic candidates for the U-S Senate, former Urban League president Andrea Zopp and State Sen. Napoleon Harris, debated on Chicago’s WTTW on Tuesday. But the front-runner, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, didn’t attend.

A poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute said last month that Duckworth is the clear favorite. But Zopp said Duckworth has completely ignored voters in central and southern Illinois.

"I think that's not fair, it's disrespectful to the downstate voters, who are critical to the Democratic process."

A spokesman for Duckworth responded by saying she's participated in three debates, which received statewide media attention. But only one of those was an actual debate. The other two were appearances before newspaper editorial boards. All three events were in the Chicago area.

The winner of the Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate will face the Republican winner. Incumbent Senator Mark Kirk is running against businessman James Marter of Oswego. Marter has accused Kirk of avoiding debates, as well as an editorial board meeting with the Chicago Tribune, causing the newspaper to cancel a meeting with Marter as well.

15th District US House GOP Contest

Meanwhile State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, wants to win the Congressional seat for the 15th district. He's accused his opponent, Congressman John Shimkus (R-Collinsville), of avoiding voters' questions. McCarter said he invited Shimkus to participate in a couple of town hall meetings in Danville and Effingham, but Shimkus never showed.

"He doesn't want the public to be aware of anything he's doing and he's got a lot to hide over 20 years. And he's got very little to talk about as to what he's done for 20 years."

Shimkus' campaign says it never received a direct invitation to the town halls.

Shimkus and McCarter will debate each other on Saturday at noon on Vandalia’s WKRV Radio, 107.1 FM just three days before the Illinois Primary contest on March 15th.

No Democrat has filed to run in the sprawling 15th district, which covers much of south-eastern Illinois. Shimkus has Gov. Bruce Rauner's endorsement and is perceived as the front-runner.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio