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HomeIllinois NewsJaye DeBates: 16th CD candidate explains why he withdrew from GOP primary

Jaye DeBates: 16th CD candidate explains why he withdrew from GOP primary



1335644GRANVILLE – Three Republicans circulated petitions in Illinois' 16th CD to get on the 2018 GOP Primary ballot. After GOP candidate James Marter objected to the Illinois State Board of Elections about the petitions Jaye DeBates submitted, DeBates withdrew his petitions the last possible day in December. Now the primary race is between GOP incumbent Congressman Adam Kinzinger and small business owner James Marter.

But DeBates says the volunteers that circulated his petitions and he are being unfairly criticized in the media since his decision to withdraw. DeBates, who is president of the Professional Roofing Association of Illinois and a building contractor, offered the following op-ed to be published in response to an Illinois Review story posted earlier on the situation HERE. 

DeBates: Citizens of the 16th Congressional District deserve better

As we usher in 2018 I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported my candidacy for Congress in the 16th Congressional District.

The people of this district have been poorly served by the incumbent Adam Kinzinger, a self-absorbed man who seems more interested in getting his mug on cable news than in doing the actual job he was elected to do. Our friends and neighbors are hurting – meanwhile our congressman delights in being the go-to-guy for Trump-hating media outlets who are always hungry for a “Republican” willing to undermine our President on-air.

We all deserve something better. I stepped-up to challenge Mr. Kinzinger because I continue to believe I can bring much needed change. I am a proud supporter of President Trump and share his desire to create jobs and opportunity for people of all races and creeds. And like our President, I believe families should be keeping more of what they work so hard to earn. As a businessman and builder myself, our President’s goals for our nation have special resonance with me.

America is already witnessing positive change. Unemployment is down and consumer confidence is up nationwide. It is truly “Morning in America” again, but sadly, on many levels Illinois is missing out. Too many of our politicians here, like Adam Kinzinger, just don’t get it.

So it was with a heavy heart that I made the decision to withdraw my candidacy last week. As a first time candidate I simply underestimated the high hurdle a candidate faces when pulled into the petition challenge process. And I faced two such challenges, both filed by supporters of James Marter, the other Republican challenger to Kinzinger.

While I filed a hundred or so signatures above the minimum required for the office, obviously in hindsight I should have filed a larger signature cushion. That honest mistake is entirely on me.

However, for some reason Mr. Marter has felt the need to defame my reputation and falsely accuse me in the press of petition fraud. His baseless accusations have not been limited to attacking my petitions on the grounds of an insufficient signature cushion. Mr. Marter has publicly leveled false claims against my volunteers and me which go far beyond what is decent and honorable. Such conduct also does a disservice to all of the voters who signed my petition and expressed their desire to see my name on the ballot. Any claim of misconduct is absurd and untrue. And while Mr. Marter has personally made claims in the press, he declined to put his own name on an objection.

Citizens of the 16th Congressional deserve better than Adam Kinzinger or James Marter. The good news is the 2020 election cycle is just around the corner. My pledge is to use the time productively.

I will most certainly keep my positive outlook and that includes working over the next two years in support of President Trump and his agenda. Meanwhile, a tough lesson has been learned and my team and I will be better prepared with many more signatures next time. The objection process is what it is, and I better appreciate now the importance of being able to defend against those who would prefer to decide a contest via litigation instead of at the ballot box.

Again, my sincere thanks to everyone who supported me this cycle, by volunteering or by signing my petition. In Donald J. Trump we finally have a wonderfully inspirational leader of integrity to build around. Until next time I look forward to working with all of you to Make America Great Again.

Jaye DeBates

Granville, Illinois


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  1. I guess I could give this guy the benefit of the doubt and assume that he had some over-exuberant petition signature volunteers that took it upon themselves to “help him out”? I would only further comment that James Marter did not do anything wrong. Actually, I respect him for going through the laborious process of finding out if a voting infraction has been committed (whether intentionally or unintentionally).