Robinson: Let’s debate; Steans: There’s no time left

Democratic incumbent Heather Steans is running the clock out on a promised debate with Republican challenger Adam Robinson, the Robinson campaign is charging today. According to the Robinson campaign the Steans campaign had agreed to debate Robinson in a forum supervised by the League of Women Voters of Chicago. Steans says she welcomes a debate, but there is no time left in the campaign.

Robinson (R-Edgewater) says his campaign sent Steans (D-Lakewood- Balmoral) a registered letter on Sept 23 asking for a debate. The campaign sent a copy of the letter to The Bulldog. Robinson told The Bulldog that Steans replied, calling his campaign manager, Caitlin Huxley on Sept 30 to arrange a date.

An agreement to hold the event, if it was hosted by a neutral third party, was accepted by both the Steans campaign and the Robinson campaign, according to Robinson.

“Sen Steans has debated opponents in the past,” a Steans staffer told The Bulldog. “We talked to (the Robinson campaign) about using a local community group to sponsor this. Early voting has already started. A lot of people have already voted. So when we got the invitation it was too late.”

Robinson says the League of Women Voters of Chicago agreed to host the debate on Oct 1, the day after Steans accepted his invitation.

Huxley attempted, Robinson says, to nail down a date with a Steans aid named Mustafa. However the Steans campaign kept asking for more time.

The Steans campaign said “the League of Women Voters told us they didn’t have a lot of members in the area. We were worried” the debate wouldn’t have been publicized enough to attract a wide audience, Steans’ staffer said. The Steans campaign was worried the debate would have drawn crowds from the two campaigns without drawing from the general public.

Steans “spent 3 hours in an organized GOTV event with the 48th Ward Democrats” on Sunday, Robinson told The Bulldog. “That time could have been spent in this town hall, had she made it a priority.”

League of Women Voters of Illinois President Nancy Marcus told The Bulldog the state office wasn’t aware of the event. She noted that the Chicago league may have worked on the event, but that her contacts in the Chicago league office were not aware of the event.

The Robinson campaign said League of Women Voters of Chicago President Esta Kallen was working with the campaigns on the debate. Kallen has not yet responded to two voice mails from The Bulldog.

“The League of Women Voters stepped up to host this event, but the Steans campaign has literally ignored all requests to set a date,” Huxley said in a press release.

“When we got the invitation, it was too late,” Steans campaign replied to The Bulldog. Steans “would welcomed it. The two campaigns couldn’t establish a date and time with enough opportunity to get news out to the public.”

“The fact that Senator Steans is backing out on an accepted invitation from the League of Women Voters is a pretty disturbing turn of events,” Huxley said.

“I remain ready to debate the issues with Senator Steans – any time, any place,” Robinson said in a press release.

A Sept 23 letter from Adam Robinson to IL Sen Heather Steans suggesting the two candidates meet in a debate

A Sept 23 letter from Adam Robinson to IL Sen Heather Steans suggesting the two candidates meet in a debate. Credit: Robinson campaign

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  3. Steans to carry Fritchey TIF idea in Statehouse
  4. Robinson: Quinn deal with AFSCME “shameful”
  5. Steans divests troubled Evergreen nursing home
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Patrick Boylan

About Patrick Boylan

Patrick grew up near LaFollette Park on the West Side. He contends that the very best Italian beef sandwiches are made on the West Side and has a strange love of the flat pizza from that part of the city. Patrick led The Bulldog to win seven journalism awards in 2011, including four awards to Patrick as a solo or a team member. He is very proud of The Dog's coverage of politics and schools in the neighborhood. Patrick wrote for the Times of Northwest Indiana as a stringer covering Cook County Government, for the Chicago Tribune as a stringer on the Chicago Wolves and for ChicagoNow as a writer before starting The Dog. He wrote for four years for as a media commentator and spent about 20 years in operations at city newspapers, including nine years as owner of his own distribution company. Prior to that he spent about nine years in public relations. Patrick has a Masters degree from the University of Colorado. He attended Eastern Illinois University for undergrad and Weber High School and St. Peter Canisius grammar school. The two-flat he owns was built in 1912 and has never been featured, to his knowledge, in any major motion pictures despite having a way-cool garden. Patrick purchased the property in 1994 and "couldn't afford to buy it now." His daughter is a college student in California. He lives in the house with his wife, Jane, and two cats who often sit in on his phone interviews.

5 thoughts on “Robinson: Let’s debate; Steans: There’s no time left

  1. Steans is using weak excuses not to debate. As an elected official she should have no problem talking about the issues facing the district with her constituents, regardless of the timing or with an opponent. It is her job…one we might add that her and her father bought for her.

  2. I find it very peculiar that the League of Women Voters either of Illinois or Chicago has not confirmed anything about a potential event. Their position, about what they proposed, what they agreed to and when and whether they actually invited the candidates and the date they did so would be particularly relevant. Until they weigh in, this should just be considered an electioneering tactic by the Robinson campaign. Just as having Jeremy Rose, former head of Chicago Young Republicans, weighing in with a comment should be considered an electioneering tactic as well.

  3. As is the case with most of our Illinois incumbents, they simply rely upon the machine’s tried and true organized voting block this blue state has offered without representing the citizens that make up their districts. Whether it be through the unions, or state workers who represent their vote and special interest only, regardless of the deficit of the state, they have upheld no vision or leadership to address their utter lack of fiscal discipline. This starts with Quinn, and works it’s way down. This is not leadership, it is shameful. In addition, it is causing the state we love to financially collapse.

    If Steans was deserving of the position, she should openly welcome a debate to show the strength of her philosophical and leadership merits, and propose what she could do to help right our failing state. i have heard Adam speak before, and heard his proposed solutions. They are refreshing, and show clearly his leadership qualities. It would appear from Steans lack of public debate she offers nothing more than the same bankrupting policies Illinois has been offered the better part of two decades, and we simply deserve better. The shame is all on Steans, and the voters have the opportunity to have their say on November 2nd.

  4. It’s too late to debate &she’s afraid not many people will come out? I guess nobody told Quinn & Brady, cuz they’re debating tonight.

  5. A little scared are we, Heather?

    And last I checked, September 23rd – the date of Robinson’s request – precedes October 11th – the day early voting started in Chicago – on the calendar. Next excuse please.

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