Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis wants U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to agree to seven debates prior to the November election. Oberweis is a dairy magnate and entrepreneur. He's trying to unseat Durbin, a third-term senator and the Senate's second-ranking Democrat. In a statement, Oberweis says voters should get to compare the candidates' records on job creation and other topics. He calls Durbin's policies "a disaster for the poor and middle class." A spokesman for Durbin's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Oberweis says the seven debates should be held statewide, with major media sponsors. He says at least three should be outside the Chicago area. Oberweis also wants one debate to be co-hosted by a liberal organization and another by a conservative organization. Political observers note it is unusual for incumbents who think they have large leads to agree to more than a minimal number of debates.
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