13th Congressional District citizens got to hear the Democrat and Republican candidate debate on television last night for the chance to serve the district in Washington D.C. Republican incumbent Rodney Davis and Democrat Challenger Betsey Dirksen-Londrigan squared off in an hour long debate on WCIA last night in prime time. The debate was sponsored by Illinois Public Media and the Champaign County League of Women Voters.
Londrigan and Davis sparred over familiar topics like healthcare, which brought about one of the more testy exchanges of the night. Londrigan says she challenged Davis for the second time to attempt to protect the Affordable Care Act and to help install a public option for the nation’s healthcare: “Making sure that every person has access to quality and affordable care is number one concern. We have to drive down the costs. We can do that in a couple of ways. One is by introducing a public option – a Medicare public option that I would only support in working in concert with the hospitals to make sure that they can maintain their excellent standard of care. That can help drive down costs. Now, what Congressman Davis doesn’t want you to know is that each of those 11 times that he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement, he voted to gut Medicare and Medicaid, which could shutter those 39 [rural] hospitals here in Illinois.”
Davis had previously argued that 39 rural hospitals in Illinois would have to close due to a lack of funding under a public option Medicare plan supported by Londrigan. Davis also fired back at Londrigan saying it was a personal attack bringing up the pre-existing conditions portion of the Affordable Care Act. He called the votes that Londrigan described as mischaracterized. He said they were procedural votes and not votes on the act itself: “The one vote that counted, protected pre-existing condition coverage for every single American, because it’s personal to me. My wife is a 21-year cancer survivor, and every single time Betsey Londrigan and her corporate PAC-funded allies like Big Pharma come after me and they say that I want to get rid of pre-existing conditions [protections], that’s an attack on my wife and that’s an attack on my family. That’s something that needs to stop.”
Davis and Londrigan also sparred on Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, campaign finances, taxes, and climate change. The full debate can be found on WCIA.com.
The Congressional race in the 13th District is expected to be one of the most highly contested races in the country once again. Davis retained the seat in 2018 by a little over 2,000 votes.
The two are scheduled to debate again on Tuesday, October 13th at Illinois State University.