The race for the 13th Congressional District has both sides accusing one another of "doing nothing."
Former Madison County judge Ann Callis, the Democrat nominee who would like to unseat Republican incumbent Rodney Davis, recently developed a new message – point out all the things her opponent is not doing.
On Saturday, she launched the “Do Nothing Davis” tour – which seeks to blame Davis for defending a “do nothing” Congress and defending his taxpayer-funded perks, “even while Congress won’t do anything on equal pay or to raise the minimum wage."
In a press release Callis stated, “This campaign is about people across Illinois who are sick of Washington politicians and insiders like Congressman Davis, who continue to defend the do nothing Congress while protecting his generous taxpayer-funded perks and hiring new lobbyists to represent the special interests that fund his campaign."
Taxpayer-funded perks have been an agenda issue for Callis throughout her campaign.
During a July 25 radio interview on 1120 KMOX, Callis was asked if there was a particular policy she could point to in which her presence in Washington would make a difference. Her answer: Reform Congress by making U.S. elected officials pay for their own gym memberships.
Another issue the Callis camp is focusing on is Davis hiring “another lobbyist to work on energy issues while simultaneously accepting significant campaign contributions from oil and gas companies,” the press release states.
In Davis's corner, the Illinois Republican Party on Monday called for Callis to apologize to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students who were said to be "manhandled" at an Aug. 21 stop she and Sen. Dick Durbin made on campus.
The Illinois GOP released video footage of a Callis campaign staffer grabbing and removing a protester. One of the videos shows Callis' campaign manager, Marshall Cohen, physically confronting student protesters.
A second video shows Callis laughing about the matter as a female staffer, who was also involved in an altercation, says "I grabbed his sign and was like 'you can go now.'"
"Ann Callis needs to apologize to the students who were physically confronted by her over-aggressive staff, and for laughing about it afterward," said Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois GOP. "Students at SIUE have plenty of reason to be concerned about her liberal agenda, and they have every right to make their voices heard."
Durbin and Callis were at the campus calling upon Congress to pass legislation to help the 37 million Americans facing student loan debt.
"Does Ann Callis really think it's appropriate to send her campaign manager out with an errand to manhandle students, and then laugh about it afterward?" Schneider said. "That's not how you work with people you disagree with. And it's a glimpse into the kind of poor leadership and judgment we would get from her in Congress."
The Callis campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Reach David Yates at firstname.lastname@example.org