WHEATON – Freshman Congressman Sean Casten is interested in only one debate with 6th CD Republican challenger Jeanne Ives, he told Crain Chicago's columnist Greg Hinz Wednesday. Casten prefers a televised League of Women Voters event rather than Ives' suggestion of holding a debate in each of the five 6th CD counties.
Ives released a statement listing issues she has with Casten's response:
- We are asking for – as stated in our press release and in our email to the Casten campaign – a fair and open debate to give voters a chance "to get past the headlines, media spin and :60-second soundbites to hear a full vetting of the candidates’ record and ideas."
- League of Women Voters hosts forums in which each candidate is posed a question and given one-minute to respond. It is essentially an opportunity for candidates to recite talking points without having to go into specifics about their policy choices or their records (":60 second soundbites"). Jeanne is happy to join the forum to give her general ideas about different issues, if that's all they want. But it isn't a debate. This is an extremely consequential election cycle. It isn't enough to tick through a few toplines and move on. For Sean Casten's campaign to say otherwise just shows his disrespect for and disinterest in the impact government has on the lives of those he represents.
- Then, there is the geography of the district. IL-06 covers a diverse area. Top issues in Central Kane County are different than the top issues in Barrington. Jeanne wants to talk with people in each part of the district about what is most important to them. Worst case scenario: they end up discussing the same policy or issue in each part of the district. That isn't a problem for Jeanne. Is that a big problem for Sean Casten?
- Finally, what else is he doing? As constituents, we would like to know. The Congressman has told reporters that he and his team can't be out campaigning. He even advocated for proxy voting so he wouldn't have to go take votes in the US House himself. Safe, socially-distance debates are a great opportunity for him to get out of the house, get around the district and reconnect with voters. We do not accept that this is a scheduling issue for the Casten Campaign.
The Casten Campaign's response makes the difference between Jeanne Ives and Sean Casten abundantly clear, the Ives campaign said in response Wednesday.
"We believe the people of IL-06 deserve a fair, honest and in-depth conversation about the choice they have in 2020. And Sean Casten's campaign doesn't. We will continue to advocate for the voters of District Six," they said. "And we hope that Sean Casten will not continue to dodge, deceive and disrespect them."