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Why Won’t Richard Irvin Face His Opponents?

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Irvin skips debate, commits to another one avoiding his biggest critics

Illinois voters still haven’t been able to hear from Richard Irvin after Irvin skipped yet another debate last week — one he had previously promised to attend. Irvin then went one step further in his debate dodging game, committing to a debate later this month, but a different debate than the one the other contenders are attending.

“We’ve yet to see all the Illinois Republican candidates for governor step on a debate stage together,” Politico reported, “though they’re already at war with each other over the possibility.”

Irvin’s Republican opponents slammed him last week for skipping the debate, leaving an empty chair in his place. And watch here at the 1:34:36 mark to see Illinoisans booing and jeering as Irvin couldn’t even be bothered to send a representative in his place at yet another GOP forum. Despite repeated attempts from the organizers to contact Irvin, he never returned their calls. Every other candidate was represented.

Irvin is doing his best to keep this epic dodge going: Last week, Darren Bailey, Gary Rabine, and Jesse Sullivan committed to a debate sponsored by WGN News on May 24th. Just an hour later, Irvin’s campaign announced he’d also be part of a May 24th debate. The only problem? It’s an altogether different event hosted by NBC 5 and Telemundo.

“Democrat Richard Irvin continues to hide in his basement and only come out when his handpicked reporters try to sabotage a statewide debate for a station with less coverage and softer questions for him,” Bailey said.

“Illinoisans are getting increasingly fed up by Richard Irvin’s refusal to face his biggest opponents and answer questions,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “What is Irvin hiding?”