Oberweis challenges Durbin to seven ‘freewheeling’ debates

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State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, who was accused by his primary opponent of dodging debates — now says he wants to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to seven debates as the two head into the November contest for the U.S. Senate seat. 

(Updated with Durbin campaign response)

Oberweis is proposing seven major statewide debates with “major media sponsors” as well as one before a “liberal organization” and “one co-hosted by a conservative organization for diversity of questioning,” Oberweis’ campaign said on Tuesday.

Included in the format, he says, should be: “Open, free-wheeling formats to allow the best format to debate issues.”

Oberweis was lambasted by his primary opponent, Doug Truax, for failing to debate him and even spending the final week before the primary in Florida rather than campaigning in Illinois. Truax’s spokesman, Dan Curry, is now working for Oberweis.

Bring it on, says Durbin spokesman Ron Holmes, adding that Durbin has “debated every challenger he’s had.”

“Yet another position change for Jim Oberweis. It’s laughable that the same candidate who dodged Doug Truax during the primary would hire Truax’s old spokesman to challenge our campaign to a debate,” Holmes said. “Sen. Durbin has debated every challenger he’s had and looks forward to working out the terms of this fall’s joint appearance schedule.” 

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