Harold's got the right idea
Why not cut through the fog of phony campaign commercials by holding regular debates among the candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 13th Congressional District?
With the election filing period coming up in December and the March 2014 primary election on the horizon, it's not too soon to get ready for the election season.
So it's our hope that Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis will follow up on his pledge to consider holding a series of debates with his primary opponent, Erika Harold, by agreeing to do so.
Davis and Harold, a Champaign lawyer, are competing for the GOP nomination for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 13th Congressional District.
There's nothing better than a face-off between the candidates to let voters know where the candidates stand on the issues and how they react in the public spotlight.
At the same time, the candidates for the Democratic Party nomination from the 13th District also should make a point of making joint appearances. Former Madison County judge Ann Callis, part-time school bus driver Bill Byrnes of Bloomington, University of Illinois physics Professor George Gollin and local resident David Green should follow suit and hold their own debates.
Given the way the political game is usually played, challengers seek debates and incumbents ignore the challengers' demand for debates. But Davis isn't the typical incumbent.
He won election in 2012, narrowly defeating his Democratic opponent David Gill. But Davis became the Republican nominee only after the original nominee, former U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, decided after the primary not to seek re-election and resigned his spot on the ticket.
Davis was subsequently slated by GOP party chairmen in the sprawling 14-county district.
So there's substance to Harold's claim that Republican voters were, as a consequence of circumstances, denied the opportunity to select their nominee. In that context, it's important that Davis and Harold agree to a series of joint appearances and take questions on a variety of subjects relating to domestic and foreign policy.
In fact, The News-Gazette would be delighted to sponsor a debate for both the Republican and Democratic candidates. It's our bet that other news organizations and civic groups, like the League of Women Voters, would do the same.
Harold has suggested at least one joint appearance in each of the district's 14 counties. That might be hard to pull off, but the number makes sense in a district that runs from Urbana to the Missouri border.
The Democratic and Republican primary candidates need to get together with the frequency ward heelers in Chicago vote — early and often. The public will be well- served if they do.