Friday, August 11, 2006

Partylines: Bean Declines Debate With McSweeney, Scheurer

Weekly Journals
NW News Group

There are three candidates on the Illinois 8th District Congressional ballot this November, but before the election, it might be hard for voters to get to see more than two at a time, if Melissa Bean has her way.

According to a press release from independent candidate Bill Scheurer, a pre-debate meeting scheduled at ABC-7 TV in Chicago was cancelled when Bean, the freshman Democratic Party incumbent, refused to participate.

Republican candidate David McSweeney and Scheurer were both willing to enter the three-way debate, according to Jayme Nicholas, ABC-7’s public relations manager. McSweeney has consistently called for three-way debates in all his public statements on the question.

Nicholas said she hoped Bean would change her mind.

This is not the first time Bean has refused to participate in a three-way debate.

On July 17, McSweeney and Scheurer faced each other on Jeff Berkowitz’s “Public Affairs” program on public access television. During the interview, McSweeney noted several times that Bean had declined to appear.

Although Scheurer gathered more than 14,000 signatures to get his name on the ballot, Bean has refused to face him in any public forum.

Scheurer says his platform, which includes ending the war in Iraq and protecting the needs of working families in areas like taxes, trade, healthcare, and immigration, is significantly different from either of the other two candidates.

"Melissa Bean does not want the public to see that her voting record would be almost identical to Dave McSweeney's on nearly every important issue," Scheurer said. "My candidacy is the only one that offers voters a real choice in this election."

Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $2.32 million for three weeks of television advertising for Bean, on top of the more than $2 million already sitting in her own campaign coffers.

"What they want to do is spend $5 million on a massive ad campaign attempting to sell us 'canned Bean' instead of exposing her to the voters in a real debate," Scheurer said. "The two parties sell politicians on TV like credit cards, cars and beer."

All three candidates are invited to appear on CLTV, according to CLTV political reporter Carlos Hernandez Gomez.

He said the three-way taped interview is tentatively scheduled to run on Oct. 11, assuming candidate cooperation.


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