Jason Plummer, the GOP nominee for the 12th U.S. House District seat, accused Democratic challenger Bill Enyart of being "out of touch" on unemployment.
The state's unemployment rate for July rose to 8.9 percent, up from 8.7 percent in June. It was the second month in a row the rate increased after nine months of falling unemployment, according to figures released Thursday by Illinois Department of Employment Security. A year ago, the jobless rate was 10.1 percent in Illinois.
During a candidates' debate Wednesday night, in response to a question, Enyart remarked that the job market is improving under President Barack Obama.
"We really need to make sure that we have folks in Washington that are in touch with what's going on economically," Plummer said during a media teleconference Friday afternoon. "We can't have people who are blinded by partisan loyalties when we have such an economic crisis going on. It's really stunning to see how out of touch some people are."
The Enyart campaign responded to Plummer's remarks by calling for Plummer to follow Enyart's "lead as a problem-solver who wants to fix the economy and attract and save good jobs in Southern Illinois," according to a statement. "We challenge Plummer to share how much he stands to personally profit from the tax breaks for millionaires he supports."
Enyart last month released 11 years' worth of tax returns and called on Plummer to do the same, but the GOP candidate has declined.
Plummer, an O'Fallon businessman, is running against Enyart, a Belleville lawyer, and Green Party nominee Paula Bradshaw, a Carbondale emergency room nurse, in the Nov. 6 election to replace U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, who is retiring in January after 24 years in Congress.
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