Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Recently in Tammy Duckworth Category

8-5_TAMMY_DUCKWORTH_17499311.JPG
Tammy Duckworth next to her helicopter in an undated file image.

As the world reflected today on the 10th anniversary of the war in Iraq, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) who lost both her legs in combat there said that congress owed families like her an "honest discussion before waging the next conflict."

"Military force must always be an option, but never again can we fool ourselves into thinking that war will be easy -- or quick," Duckworth said in a statement today. "It is families like mine, the ones whose spouses, siblings, parents and children continue to serve in uniform who will pay when we wage war. We owe these families a responsible, honest discussion before waging the next conflict."

The newly-minted congresswoman of Hoffman Estates was a helicopter pilot in Iraq when she was shot down. She lost both her legs and one of her arms is injured. Earlier this year, Duckworth became the face of a new directive expanding women in combat.

Today, she noted that more than 4,000 people have died, more than 32,000 have been wounded in Iraq, "and the scourge of suicides and untreated mental health and brain injuries claim more lives each day," Duckworth said. "More than $1 trillion of our national treasure has been spent, not to mention the $8 billion a year we will spend for decades to care for our Iraq War Veterans."

Duckworth-Walsh.jpeg

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 takedownwalsh.com, 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.