Differing views of federal earmarks were just one way you can tell the candidates for U. S. Senate in Illinois apart.  Incumbent U. S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) appeared two hours apart at an Illinois Farm Bureau forum in Bloomington.  Durbin says ag research buildings at the University of Illinois and the USDA lab at Peoria are examples.  
 
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“You and your predecessors came to me with these projects, and said, we need them for the future of agriculture.  So, no apologies.  If we can get back to where I can earmark money to bring it home to Illinois, to make sure our federal tax dollars find their way back to our state, I'm going to continue to do it.  “Our federal budget is bleeding with deficit and debt that is being immorally being piled on our children and grandchildren,” Oberweis countered.  “Dick Durbin's solution is to bring back earmarks.”
 
Oberweis, a freshman state senator after several failed attempts to win elective office, is trying to paint Durbin as an entrenched insider and himself as a non-politician.  Durbin said seniority does count, pointing out the current occupant of the Oval Office will take his call.
 
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