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***Updated with comments from Joe Walsh ***

Former Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to form a new PAC.

Its name: Grow Up & Be Free.

"What I'm doing is I've been traveling the state for the last four months. We are trying to grow a movement of people in Illinois to tell their politicians - they want to grow up, keep more of what we've make... We already have 2,000 members," Walsh told the Sun-Times on Tuesday.
Walsh said he wants to grow the movement "so it's a force in Illinois," and is positioned to support Illinois candidates.
Walsh said he wants it to be a grass-roots movement in Illinois then possibly branch out to support national candidates.

Anthony Barry, who has worked with Walsh in his past campaign, told the Sun-Times on Tuesday the reason behind the political action committee.

"He set up a leadership PAC to support real conservative candidates who believe in the principles of freedom and liberty," Barry said.
As far as who's supporting it: "It's just getting off the ground," Barry said.

Papers filed with the FEC show that Walsh's wife, Helene Miller-Walsh is listed as treasurer.

Walsh lost in a bid for reelection to U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth last fall.
He has since landed a radio gig on AM 560 The Answer.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh once called his opponent's attack on his child support payments "graceless," and stood beside his older son at a news conference asking that an ad calling him "deadbeat Joe," be pulled from the airwaves.

But now the Tea Party Republican is no longer in office, he has asked a Cook County Circuit Court to modify his child support payments. According to his ex-wife's attorney, Jack Coladarci, Walsh is behind in payments.
Walsh says he is asking a court to modify his payments since he no longer has the job in Congress. He describes the filing as routine and said he has no intention of skipping on payments.

Walsh, who preached fiscal responsibility to other House members, had been behind $115,000 in child support payments back in 2011. He and his ex-wife, however, then came to an agreement and settled the matter.

Last week, Walsh announced over Twitter that he was filing papers with the Federal Election Commission to launch a new conservative SuperPAC aimed at rivaling Karl Rove.

Walsh also famously attacked Sandra Fluke for testifying before Congress that health insurance should cover contraceptives for women.
Said Walsh: "Go get a job!"

walsh_jan15.JPGPhoto: Richard Chapman/Sun-Times

Former Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh, fresh off a defeat at the hands of Tammy Duckworth, may be taking his bluster to the airwaves soon. Chicago Media Baron™ Robert Feder reported this morning that local conservative talk radio station 560 WIND-AM is honing in on Walsh as a possible host for a weeknight show and think highly enough of Walsh's abilities that they're already seeing bigger things. Reports Feder, "If it's a hit, insiders said, national distribution could follow."

If WIND does end up hiring Walsh, it will go a long way to filling a hole in talk radio, which is currently devoid of conservative firebrand hosts who rile up listeners with race-baiting and fear-mongering.

Assuming this doesn't interfere with Walsh's possible run for Senate in 2014, Walsh's show could become the Midwest political equivalent of The Paul Finebaum Show, sports radio's premiere three-ring circus.


One of the most hotly contested Congressional races in the nation is right here in Illinois as 8th Congressional District incumbent Rep. Joe Walsh, a fiery conservative favorable with the Tea Pary, is taking on Democratic challenger and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth. The last time these two met, early last week, it was a fiery debate in front of a riled up crowd in Rolling Meadows. Things should be a bit more tame tonight with this debate happening in WTTW's studios, but it's sure to still be contentious.

The two have already tangled this week, though not directly, with reports of new money being sunk into anti-Duckworth ads by a pro-Walsh SuperPAC being met with defiance by Duckworth. And Walsh was once again secretly taped by opponents, this time advising business owners to mobilize their employees to vote Republican by telling them they could lose their job if Democrats win.

Below, find our live-blog with running commentary from me, our crack politics reporter Natasha Korecki, and other pundits.

A video released to the Chicago Sun-Times shows Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh telling a group that now is the time for business owners to "energize" their employees.

They should do it, he said, by telling them they likely won't have jobs if President Obama is reelected or if the Democrats take the majority in Congress.

"If you run, manage or own a company tell your employees! What was the CEO this week that said, if Obama is reelected, I may have to let all of you go next year? If Obama's reelected, if the Democrats take Congress, I may not be able to cover your health insurance next year," Walsh told a crowd. "If there's ever a year where people who run, manage, or own their companies are going to energize their employees, it better be this year. We're up against it."

Walsh is in one of the most hotly contested contests in the nation -- running against Tammy Duckworth, an Iraqi war veteran who lost both her legs in combat. The two are competing in the newly redrawn 8th Congressional district. Walsh has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, saying that it is too burdensome on small businesses.

The video is taken by CREDO, a SuperPAC that has been a thorn in Walsh's side of late. CREDO, which runs, is known to have video at various Walsh appearances. Inevitably, Walsh utters something controversial. That includes when Walsh told a group that Sandra Fluke should "go get a job!" -- that utterance made it onto a campaign ad against the congressman.
The SuperPAC has spent $165,437 in the district.

The video's release comes as a source with knowledge of SuperPAC strategy told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday that a conservative group that had dumped $2 million in anti-Duckworth ads, was preparing to pump another $2.5 million in attack ad against the Hoffman Estates Democrat.

Congressman Joe Walsh told the Chicago Sun-Times today that the campaign's internal polling numbers show his race against Democrat Tammy Duckworth in a dead heat, though the campaign has not released those numbers.

Meanwhile, Walsh said financial numbers due out later this month are likely to show he's raised $300,000 in the last quarter, meaning Duckworth has outraised him about 5 to 1.

Outside spending is another story, however, with a SuperPAC having pumped more than $1.7 million into Walsh's campaign in the form of a series of attack ads against Duckworth.

The internal polling disclosure comes in a week of wildly varying polls -- from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee showing Duckworth up by 10 points to a We Ask America poll showing Walsh up slightly with 47 percent of the vote vs. Duckworth at about 46 percent.
"Why is this election so close? She's had this district drawn for her," Walsh said, referencing the fact that the incumbent's district had been sliced up and redrawn to benefit Democrats.

When asked why he believed the race was so close when other polls -- aside from We Ask America -- had shown Duckworth with a large lead, he pointed to the campaign's own polling.
"Our internal numbers say this is a dead heat, it's really close," he said.

The race has become one of the most closely watched in the nation.
This week, Duckworth released numbers showing that she raised $1.5 million in the last quarter.

"It will be amongst the highest for challengers for congress in the country," said Anton Becker for the Duckworth campaign. "$1.5 million is an enormous amount.
It just shows how grass roots our campaign is."

The campaign reported this week that nearly 95 percent of the individual contributions Duckworth received were for $100 or less and the average individual contribution was $53.17.

Numbers are due later this month, but Walsh on Friday said he believed his campaign had raised around $300,000 in that same time period.

However, there has been an enormous infusion of cash into Walsh's campaign by an outside SuperPAC called Now or Never.