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DeBates withdraws from U.S. House race

Petition objections from opponent bring an early end to his bid for 16th District seat

GRANVILLE — A Republican candidate for the 16th Congressional District seat, Jaye R. DeBates of Granville, withdrew his candidacy on Dec. 29 amid complaints filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

DeBates issued a statement after his withdrawal, that reads, in part:

“As we usher in 2018, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported my candidacy for Congress in the 16th Congressional District.

“The people of this district have been poorly served by the incumbent Adam Kinzinger, a self-absorbed man who seems more interested in getting his mug on cable news than in doing the actual job he was elected to do.

“Our friends and neighbors are hurting – meanwhile our congressman delights in being the go-to-guy for Trump-hating media outlets who are always hungry for a ‘Republican’ willing to undermine our president on-air.

“We all deserve something better. I stepped up to challenge Mr. Kinzinger because I continue to believe I can bring much-needed change. I am a proud supporter of President Trump and share his desire to create jobs and opportunity for people of all races and creeds. And like our president, I believe families should be keeping more of what they work so hard to earn. As a businessman and builder myself, our president’s goals for our nation have special resonance with me.

“America is already witnessing positive change. Unemployment is down and consumer confidence is up nationwide. It is truly ‘Morning in America’ again, but sadly, on many levels Illinois is missing out. Too many of our politicians here, like Adam Kinzinger, just don’t get it.

“So it was with a heavy heart that I made the decision to withdraw my candidacy last week. As a first-time candidate, I simply underestimated the high hurdle a candidate faces when pulled into the petition challenge process. And I faced two such challenges, both filed by supporters of James Marter, the other Republican challenger to Kinzinger. …

“I will most certainly keep my positive outlook and that includes working over the next two years in support of President Trump and his agenda. Meanwhile, a tough lesson has been learned, and my team and I will be better prepared with many more signatures next time,” DeBates said.

According to a Facebook post by Republican opponent James Marter, Friends of the Marter for Congress campaign filed challenges on Dec. 11 to petitions submitted by DeBates on Dec. 4 citing discrepancies regarding the collection of qualifying signatures.

“Illinois voters deserve election and ballot integrity in the election process,” Marter said in the post.

“There were significant shortcomings, some more serious than others. It is ultimately up to the (Illinois State Board of Elections) to determine whether each objection is sustained or overruled,” he added.

Currently a general contractor working out of McNabb and president of the Professional Roofing Association of Illinois, DeBates is also the acting chairman of the Putnam County Republican Party.

Along with being a small business owner, he’s also an Eagle Scout, a college graduate, an NRA pistol instructor, a women’s self-defense instructor, and a Bible study and Sunday school teacher. The first big political effort he was a part of was campaigning for former Illinois Gov. James Thompson.

“After working very hard on President Trump’s successful presidential campaign and after careful prayer, I realized I needed to go to Washington to support and help President Trump finish making America the strongest nation in the world,” DeBates said of what prompted his candidacy.

His background in small business was another inspiration.

“I will stand up for the working man in my district,” he stated prior to his withdrawal.

The current roster of 16th Congressional District candidates for the March 20 primary now stands at two Republicans: Kinzinger, the incumbent and of Channahon; and James T. Marter, of Oswego.

For the Democrats, four candidates have filed: Neill Mohammad of DeKalb; Sara Dady of Rockford; Beth Vercolio-Osmund of Ottawa; and Amy Briel of Joliet.

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