Davis no-show an insult to voters
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis' decision to skip joint appearance with his primary opponents is a disservice to the public.
With just six weeks to go before the March 18 primary election, it's time for Republican and Democratic voters to start sizing up candidates running in contested party races.
One good way to do so is to follow the debates. Candidates line up side by side, give their pitch and answer questions. In doing so, they both perform a public service and meet a public obligation.
Unfortunately, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis is not participating in joint appearances with his principal opponent, Erika Harold. In following that self-serving course, Davis is ignoring his duty to participate fully in the election process — and shortchanging the voters.
It's no accident that Davis is not participating. He and party bigwigs are miffed that Harold, a local lawyer best known as a former Miss America, is challenging him for the GOP nomination. Having won a U.S. House seat in 2012 after being slated by party leaders to fill a ballot vacancy created when former U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson decided not to seek re-election, Davis expected Republicans in the sprawling 13th District to fall in line behind him.
When Harold decided to run, Davis opted not just to ignore her but to avoid any possibility of giving voters a chance to make a side-by-side comparison. With a presumed lead in the polls, Davis has apparently decided not to take the political risk a joint appearance would present.
Of course, Davis would never be so candid as to acknowledge his approach. Instead, he says he just can't find the time in his schedule to participate in a joint appearance with his primary opponent.
The local League of Women Voters is holding a forum for Democratic and Republican congressional candidates on Feb. 20 at the Champaign City Building. It starts at 7 p.m. Five of the six Democratic and Republican candidates are expected to be there.
Davis won't be because he lacks sufficient respect for his opponent and the public to show up.