Illinois: War of Words Over Halvorson’s Stepson

Posted September 9, 2008 at 6:07pm

Clarification Appended

First, seven retired military personnel wrote state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson (D) on Aug. 25, asking her to stop “shamelessly exploiting [her] stepson’s injury for political gain” in her campaign for the open 11th district seat.

Halvorson’s stepson, an Army captain, was injured in Afghanistan last month.

“Your surrogates are cynically using your stepson as a political pawn, and you are standing by, watching it happen with nary a word,” the group wrote in a letter sent to Halvorson and obtained by Roll Call. Halvorson said she never received the letter.

Now, four different retired soldiers are scolding Chicago concrete contractor Martin Ozinga (R), Halvorson’s opponent, on the opinion pages of a local newspaper. Last Friday, the quartet chided Ozinga for allegedly not observing a temporary truce and pulling the plug on automated phone calls attacking Halvorson while she was visiting her stepson at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

“The timing of your personal attacks against Debbie were some of the most disrespectful and tasteless political tactics imaginable and just goes to show how empty your self-declarations are that you are ‘not a politician,’” the four wrote in the Kankakee Daily Journal last Friday.

Ozinga and Halvorson are locked in a heated contest to replace retiring Rep. Jerry Weller (R).

Clarification: Sept. 24, 2008

Debbie Halvorson (D) never received a letter from a group of veterans accusing her surrogates of trying to capitalize politically on the injuries her stepson recently suffered while serving in the Army in Afghanistan.