Conservative congressman ended weeks of speculation Thursday when he announced he'll seek re-election in the redrawn 8th District.
Rep. Joe Walsh is staying put -- sort of.
The conservative congressman on Thursday announced he'll seek re-election in the redrawn 8th District.
His decision means he'll face either DuPage Regional Superintendent of Education Darlene Ruscitti or Barrington businessman Andrew Palomo in the March Primary Election. If he survives, he'd be up against Tammy Duckworth or Raja Krishnamoorthi, both Democrats, in the November General Election.
"If we have to live with that Democratic map, I will run for re-election in the new 8th," Walsh said at The Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville. "I refuse to believe that most Americans want to depend upon government. And this run in the 8th will prove we’re right.”
Recent redistricting gave him the option to run in the 8th, 11th or 14th districts. In September, Walsh said he would run in the 14th District -- where he now resides -- and battle fellow Republican Randy Hultgren.
In late November, word trickled out that he had reconsidered. He said Thursday that his decision to remain in the 8th "could not have been clearer for my family and me."
Within moments of his announcement, Krishnamoorthi and Duckworth were out with their own statements.
Krishnamoorthi positioned himself as the "candidate best suited to square off against Walsh in November."
"Joe Walsh and the Tea Party claim that the Democratic agenda is a job-killing agenda," said Krishnamoorthi. “As a job creator and the president of a local small business, I am the only candidate with the economic and business credibility needed to challenge that assertion both on the campaign trail and in the halls of Congress.”
Duckworth said Walsh's "antics won't solve our country's economic crisis."
"Congressman Walsh should know that I've never backed down from a fight in my life. And I am fighting for the residents of the 8th Congressional District," said Duckworth. "I want to get to the halls of Congress where I will continue that fight to strengthen our economy and support our families by creating jobs, providing access to health care and making sure children receive the best education possible."
Walsh's full statement:
Before a crowd of over 200, Congressman Joe Walsh announced tonight that he will seek re-election in the 8th district. While Rep. Walsh still believes that the gerrymandered Democrat map will be overturned by the Federal Courts, he made it clear that if the map stands, he will run for re-election in the new 8th district. Walsh had initially indicated that he would run in the 14th district.
"After much soul searching and discussions with my wife Helene, friends, and supporters, I am here tonight to announce that I will stand for re-election in the 8th district of Illinois. During my short time in Congress, I have done everything I can to reverse the failed policies of Obama and Pelosi. I am running for re-election to fight for those in my district who feel like they are losing their country. For the small businesses who are over regulated and for the families who feel overtaxed. I believe the silent majority of voters in Schaumburg, Addison, Elk Grove Village, Bloomingdale, and across the district think government is too big, our debt is unconscionable, they don't have another nickel to give to government, and they want the government off their backs so they can work and raise their families
While the Democrats in Springfield who have bankrupted our state did everything in their power to redraw the 8th district to overturn the will of the people, I think they underestimated the frustration of voters who don't want to see the failed policies of Springfield duplicated in Washington. They want to elect someone who will stand up to big government. Nowhere else in the country will there be a clearer choice between the failed policies of Obama/Pelosi and an independent voice in Washington who will stand up to both sides and say 'enough is enough' than in the 8th district.
This decision could not have been clearer for my family and me. This is the right move for us, and the right move for the people in the 8th district. I will continue to stand up for them in a city where far too often elected officials forget who elected them, and instead focus more on what they need to do to get re-elected. I have made it clear that I will only serve six years in the House, but during that time I will do everything in my power to bring the power back to the people who feel as though their country is being taken away from them."
On his decision not to run in the 14th Walsh continued "while I was encouraged by the enthusiasm I received from folks all across the 14th district, I felt at this time, with this unjust map, I had to stand up and fight. The idea of ceding this seat to the Democrats just felt wrong and someone needed to step up to the challenge."
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, who was one of many Republican leaders urging Walsh to run in the 8th district, said "Joe Walsh gives Republicans the best opportunity to win the 8th district . In one year, he has become one of the most outspoken advocates for limited government and private sector job creation. He personifies the movement sweeping across this country of people who understand that Washington is broken and bankrupting future generations. Joe will make this 2012 race in the 8th district one of the most compelling in the country."