The Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate have agreed to three joint appearances, none of which will take place downstate.
The three contenders in the primary race, Andrea Zopp, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates), and State Sen. Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey), are set to meet three times before the March 15th primary: Feb. 8 in front of the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Feb. 16 with the Chicago Sun-Times board, and Feb. 19 in a televised debate broadcast by ABC 7 Chicago.
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Those appearances will all take place in Chicago, which Zopp said will "offend" downstate Democrats.
"We're running statewide," Zopp said. "Voters downstate absolutely want to hear from the candidates and so we suggested sessions in Peoria and in Springfield and we're still going to continue to push for that."
The Peoria event would be hosted by Peoria League of Women Voters in late February, with the Springfield appearance being taking place in front of the editorial board of the State Journal-Register. Zopp's suggested schedule also includes three more televised debates in Chicago.
While Zopp is promising to appear at those downstate candidate forums, the Harris campaign says he'll participate in at least the same three events listed on Duckworth's schedule.
Duckworth campaign spokesman Matt McGrath declined to comment on Zopp's criticisms.
In an earlier statement announcing Duckworth's campaign schedule, campaign manager Kaitlin Fahey said “Congresswoman Duckworth is looking forward to the opportunity to share her vision for serving Illinois in the U.S. Senate and continuing the progress she has made for working families and small businesses, which is in stark contrast to Senator Kirk’s Wall Street priorities."
On the Republican side, the campaign of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) says nothing has been decided on debating Kirk's lone primary challenger, Oswego businessman James Marter.