Londrigan, Davis spar over health care, campaign financing

BETSY DIRKSEN LONDRIGAN (left) and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis squared off in their televised debate Monday, Oct. 5. – WCIA-TV screencap

Champaign, IL – Labor-endorsed, union-supporting Congressional candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan gave better than she got last week at the first debate in her rematch with U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) in the Illinois 13th Congressional District.

The district takes in Springfield, Champaign, Bloomington, Edwardsville and surrounding parts of the Metro East.

Londrigan, of Springfield, narrowly lost to the incumbent Davis two years ago, and Illinois Democrats have high hopes that she will make up that slim difference in this election.

The candidates met Oct. 5 in an hour-long sparring match seen on regional television and radio, sponsored by Illinois Public Media, the League of Women Voters and WCIA-TV.

Health care is a top issue in the race, followed by campaign funding.

Davis has been a stern opponent of the Affordable Care Act, voting  11 times to repeal it, without a replacement, taking away protection for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing prescription drug prices to rise even higher than they already are.

Davis claimed many of the 11 votes were procedural and would not have actually repealed Obamacare. “The one vote that counted protected pre-existing conditions,” he said.

Londrigan shot back, “Unless somebody walked up and pressed the voting button when you weren’t looking, every one of those 11 times, that was you – 11 times to repeal the Affordable Act Care with no replacement,” she said.

A fact-checking team working with Londrigan said all of the 11 votes would have either taken steps toward repealing the ACA or rolled back all or part of the law. “This makes Davis’ claim that the bill would have ‘protected existing condition coverage for every single American’ false,” the team’s report stated.

Londrigan promised to protect the ACA, protect people with pre-existing conditions and seek to reduce prescription drug prices.

The candidates also clashed over the 2017 legislation that reduced corporate tax rates. Londrigan called it a “tax scam,” noting it allowed companies such as Amazon and Netflix to pay nothing, while giving only meager relief to working families.

They also clashed over House Speaker Michael Madigan and his dealings with Commonwealth Edison (ComEd).

Davis’ campaign has been filling mailboxes with flyers claiming Madigan is bankrolling Londrigan’s campaign, but she said the funding is actually from the Illinois Democratic Party, which Madigan happens to chair.

Londrigan noted that ComEd is actually owned by Exelon, which has heavily backed Davis’ campaign.

“You accepted money both from Exelon’s PAC and from the ComEd lobbyists who have been implicated,” Londrigan told Davis. “I know it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the over $3 million that you have taken from corporate PACs, but it is significant.”

Londrigan noted that Davis’ $3 million from corporate PACs includes more than $200,000 from big pharmaceutical companies.

Despite Davis’s attempts to smear Londrigan, he campaign spokesperson Eliza Glezer announced she has increased her own fundraising to $1.55 million in the three months that ended Sept. 30, with over 85 percent of her donations coming from individual donors giving $100 or less. “Betsy refuses to accept corporate PAC money, now or when in Congress, and she will not be beholden to anyone except the voters who elect her to Congress.

“The momentum behind Betsy’s campaign is thanks to the more-than 50,000 individual donors who are committed to flipping the 13th District,” Glezer said.

“Central Illinoisans are ready for a representative like Betsy who will fight for their interests – from quality, affordable health care to rebuilding the economy – not their current congressman who is bought and paid for by special interests.”

For more information about Londrigan’s campaign can be found at www.BetsyDirksenLondrigan.com.

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