State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, Republican nominee for U.S. Senate released a statement Tuesday challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to seven statewide debates.
The debates would be centered around job creation, the Internal Revenue Service scandal and campaign money donated by a firm charged with sexual harassment, according to a news release.
Oberweis said Durbin is a “career politician” who does not understand how to create jobs because he does not have private sector experience.
“I believe our country is better served when we have citizen legislators rather than career legislators," Oberweis said.
He also said Durbin’s “failed policies” have “severely hurt” the country. Oberweis said a simpler tax code and decreasing regulation, which is “piled on excessively,” would help businesses in Illinois.
Durbin spokesman Ron Holmes said Durbin always has debated challengers and that both sides would work toward a process for future debates. Holmes said Durbin has continually fought for the middle class and would support an increase in the minimum wage. While Oberweis sees an increase in the minimum wage as a “job killer,” Holmes said, Durbin supports an increase and views the decision as an “issue of fairness."
Holmes also called Oberweis’s campaign shift from “ducking” debates to seeking confrontation an “interesting dynamic.” He also pointed out that Oberweis’s campaign spokesman, Dan Curry, worked for the primary opponent, Republican Doug Truax.
In the news release, Oberweis requested three of the seven debates be held outside of Chicago. One of the debates would be co-hosted by a liberal organization and one co-hosted by a conservative organization to allow for a diverse set of questions, according to the release.