Duckworth Unseats Walsh in 8th Congressional | NBC Chicago
2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

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Duckworth Unseats Walsh in 8th Congressional




    Tammy Duckworth addressed her supporters at her campaign rally after winning her race in the 8th Congressional District against Republican incumbent Joe Walsh. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012)

    Rep. Joe Walsh will be a one-term congressman.

    Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth on Tuesday unseated Walsh in race for Illinois' 8th Congressional District, one that was redrawn to be Democratically friendly.

    With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Duckworth had captured 55 percent of the vote.

    "You know there are two days that are important to me in November. There is this amazingly wonderful election day that we're enjoying tonight, and there's my alive day, the anniversary of my shoot down in Iraq," she told an enthusiastic crowd at the Elk Grove Village Holiday Inn.

    Her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down on Nov. 12, 2004. She lost both of her legs as a result of the accident.

    Walsh, who himself unseated a three-term incumbent Melissa Bean in 2010 by roughly 300 votes, legislated and campaigned on a platform of job growth and economic recovery, long maintaining that the federal government has hampered that growth with too many regulations.

    But many voters apparently found Walsh too extreme. He called President Barack Obama a liar, said radical Muslims intent on killing Americans had invaded the suburbs and claimed Duckworth talked too much about her military service to be considered a hero.

    He was far more conciliatory in his remarks to supporters at the Medinah Shriner Center in Addison.

    "My congressional office will do what ever we can to help with the transition when she assumes responsibilities as the new congresswoman for the 8th Congressional District," he said.

    The campaign was one of the most-watched races in the country. Duckworth unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2006 and was later appointed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. 

    Her name was also mentioned as a possible replacement for Barack Obama when he left the U.S. Senate for the presidency. Obama later named her an assistant secretary for the Department of Veteran Affairs.