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Rohl challenges Kinzinger to debates

Democratic calls for eight forums in 80 days

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 9:00 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 12:37 p.m. CST

The Wanda Rohl campaign has issued a challenge for incumbent Rep. Adam Kinzinger to participate in a series of debates over the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

“I invite Mr. Kinzinger to debate me eight times over the next 80 days,” Rohl, the Democratic candidate for Congress, said in a campaign statement.

“I want the people of the newly drawn 16th District to have as many opportunities as possible to hear where we stand on the issues.”

Rohl’s campaign has been drawing comparison between the billionaire Koch Brothers funds Kinzinger has been bringing in from national PACs and money from backers who do not live in the 16th district to Rohl’s grassroots donors.

Rohl has also issued a challenge for Kinzinger to join her in turning down special interest money; Rohl has refused to take money from national organizations or PACs.

The Rohl campaign contends Kinzinger has paid over half a million dollars to the public relations firm of Wilson Grand, the same public relations firm that represents Paul Ryan and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.

“We have the best incumbent-beating records of any Republican firm in the nation against incumbent members of Congress,” is a claim made on the Wilson Grand website.

This is the same firm that helped Kinzinger, with the money of Eric Cantor and others of the right wing Republican party, beat Don Manzullo in the primary.

According to her website, Rohl’s campaign is 100 percent grassroots and her staff is made up entirely of volunteers.

“Do the farmers, factory workers, store clerks, nurses, and all of the citizens of the 16th District want to vote for someone who is willing to spend over half a million dollars of other people’s money for slick TV ads?” asked Elizabeth Wilke, campaign manager for Rohl.

“Or do they want to vote for someone who knows what it is like to live pay check to pay check, someone who works hard for her family, someone who will vote on the issues and not owe anyone any favors? I think the debates will make it clear who is a true representative of the majority of the people who live in the 16th District.”

So far there hasn’t been a response from the Kinzinger camp to either of the challenges made by Rohl.

“It is clear that Kinzinger thinks he can spend as much money as necessary to buy this office,” Rohl said. “Well, I know the people of this district. I grew up in Ottawa; the people of this district are my neighbors.

“They do not want a slick politician to represent them; they want someone who knows what it is like to live day in and day out in this district. I can be their voice in Washington because I know them and they know me. I will not be bought and I will not sell them out.”

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