CARBONDALE – Ray Lenzi, Democratic candidate for Congress in Illinois’ 12th District, is calling out his Republican opponent for refusing to participate in a televised debate in advance of the Nov. 3 election.

Lenzi’s remarks came during a news conference and rally outside of Mike Bost’s campaign headquarters in Carbondale on Tuesday.

“Debate organizers have told us that ‘No Show’ Mike has declined to take part in a candidate’s debate slated to air this fall on WSIU-TV,” said Lenzi. “This is just another attempt by Bost to hide from the voters and avoid discussion of the issues. It simply unbelievable that a sitting congressman would be so dismissive of his constituents!”

The WSIU-TV debate between congressional candidates has become somewhat of a 12th District tradition over the years. Sponsors have included various media outlets and good-government groups interested in serving the interests of voters.

“Bost’s refusal to participate in the WSIU debate follows his pattern of declining to engage with our campaign and with the voters,” Lenzi noted. “We have also suggested Lincoln-Douglas style debates across the 12th District but Bost simply won’t respond, preferring to hide behind the trappings of his office.”

Sponsors had proposed a virtual debate, to be conducted over the Internet and then aired on WSIU a week or so later. “The idea was to practice social distancing while having a rigorous discussion of the issues,” said Lenzi. “There would have been no concerns about spreading the Coronavirus.”

Now, Lenzi pointed out, Bost has robbed 12th District voters a chance to make an informed decision. “’No Show’ Bost shows up every two years and says, “’Vote for Me’ and then disappears,” said Lenzi. “Our ‘We the People’ campaign stands ready to debate at any time,” said Lenzi. “Why is Mike Bost playing ‘chicken’ when it comes to talking about his record?”

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