As a candidate, you've been offered not one, but two chances to broadcast to a wide audience the reasons why you should be sent to Congress.|
Sounds like political nirvana, yes?
Not, apparently, to Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, and Democrat challenger Cheri Bustos, who have not only failed to jump at the chance for two debates on Quad-Cities airwaves, they can't agree on which offers to choose.
Rep. Schilling has accepted only the invitation to a debate sponsored by WQAD and these newspapers. But not to the one sponsored by KWQC-TV and the Quad-City Times, which Ms. Bustos has agreed to. Though she has not yet declined the invitation from Illinois media, she has not accepted it.
"We felt that one debate was ample for the Quad-City area," said Schilling spokesman Jon Schweppe. We can't help but recall when supporters of challenger Bobby Schilling would have begged for such exposure in his bid to oust incumbent Rep. Phil Hare. What a difference incumbency makes.
As for Ms. Bustos, we expected this former reporter and editor to see the value in more debates and quickly jump at both opportunities. But if her campaign intends to participate in only one, we wonder why she chose an event sponsored by the Iowa-based TV station and newspaper. There are no votes to be mined in Iowa for a candidate seeking to represent Illinois.
Money may also be poisoning the well. Both campaigns have buckets of it, and will get buckets more for a race that has captured the national spotlight. So called super PACs also are likely to play a part.
Such an infusion of campaign cash from outside interests to buy negative advertising increases the value of debates for both voters and candidates. Rep. Schilling and Ms. Bustos should seize every opportunity to give voters the facts behind the spin.
Indeed, if the candidates pass up this excellent opportunity, both they and the voters lose. We urge them to end the debate debate and find a way to make both happen.
East moline, IL Details
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