Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), a Tea Party leader, on Wednesday announced he will run from the new 14th congressional district in Illinois, setting up primary with Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) Walsh now represents the 8th district and Hultgren the 14th. UPDATE Fireworks already started: Sun-Times Political Writer Abdon M. Pallasch has a full story. Read it HERE
By running from the 14th, Republicans are without a well known candidate in the 8th district, where Democrats Tammy Duckworth and Raja Krishnamoorthi are pitted in a high profile contest.
The two Democrats have used Walsh's Tea Party views as rallying points and to help their fund-raising. Republican Rich Evans, a certified public accountant has been campaigning since June 20.
Walsh discussed the potential primary with Hultgren in a letter he sent to supporters on Wednesday.
"I understand that there is another Republican Congressman drawn into this new district, Randy Hultgren and it would be unfortunate if we had to run against each other. But the new 14th District, if it stands, doesn't belong to any Incumbent or any politician. The district belongs to the people of this district and they will have to decide who their next representative is. And if they have to decide between two Republican Incumbents, so be it - in many ways Randy and I are both good conservatives who share many of the same values but there are also healthy differences between the two of us, we've both had a very different initial tenure in Washington, and the voters in the new district will decide which one of us will best be their voice in DC."
Illinois Democrats drew the new map rigged to elect Democrats and Illinois Republicans are challenging it in federal court; no rulings are expected for a few months. In the meantime, the window has opened for candidates to start circulating nominating petitions.
Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), whose existing west suburban district was diced up by the Democrats, is circulating petitions to run in the 11th district. A Democratic former lawmaker, Rep. Bill Foster is already in the contest and has no major primary opponent.
Click below for Walsh letter....
below, from Walsh...
Friends and Supporters,
I want to let you all know that I've made my decision as to where I'll be running in 2012.
As you know, the Democrats controlled the entire redistricting process in Illinois and they've drawn a map which attempts to overturn the 2010 election. The Republicans have filed suit to challenge the Democrat drawn map and have presented the court with their own fair map. We should get an answer from the Court in November but I didn't want to wait that long to let you all know what I'll be doing.
No matter which map prevails, I've decided to run for re-election from the district in which I live and where I represent most of my current constituents. If the Democrat map stands, I will be running in what is the new 14th district which entails a good portion of Lake County, almost all of McHenry County, Kane County, Kendall County, and some of Will and DeKalb Counties. I live in McHenry and my current District office is in Northern Lake County. This area is home.
I understand that there is another Republican Congressman drawn into this new district, Randy Hultgren and it would be unfortunate if we had to run against each other. But the new 14th District, if it stands, doesn't belong to any Incumbent or any politician. The district belongs to the people of this district and they will have to decide who their next representative is. And if they have to decide between two Republican Incumbents, so be it - in many ways Randy and I are both good conservatives who share many of the same values but there are also healthy differences between the two of us, we've both had a very different initial tenure in Washington, and the voters in the new district will decide which one of us will best be their voice in DC.
I decided to run for Congress almost exactly two years ago because as I said at one of my first events, " I felt like I was losing my country and I was angry at both political parties for putting us on a path which would bankrupt future generations and suffocate the freedoms we've always revered." I proudly said I was a child of the growing tea party movement, a movement of patriotic folks intent on stopping the growth of government and restoring our most basic freedoms. I said during the campaign I was going to go to Washington and scream from the mountaintop about the frightening direction our country was heading and that's what I've done, becoming one of the most outspoken voices in Congress.
Friends, we're in a fight, a fight we can't lose. This President doesn't understand what makes America great. His policies are destroying what makes this the greatest and freest country in the history of this planet, and the only way we will defeat him and those who agree with him is to respectfully fight him with everything we've got. Now is not the time to have career politicians in Washington who will just get along, compromise too much, and do what their party leadership tells them to do. We need members of Congress right now who will fight for the folks back home, do what's right, and not worry about the next election.
I went to Washington because I believe America is going through a revolution over her very soul and I wanted to do my part to help win this fight. It's why I've been so vocal this first year, it's why I've been a leader in the fight for the balanced budget amendment, it's why I was one of 22 Republicans who voted against my own Speaker's final debt ceiling compromise, it's why I sleep in my office, why I've limited myself to no more than six years in Congress, it's why I turned down my Congressional health and retirement benefits, and it's why I did not attend President Obama's joint session speech the other week and instead came home and listened to 100 small business owners, the real job creators in this country. We are at a crucial point in our country's history and our side -- the side that believes in freedom and limited government -- has to win.
I do hope we overturn the Democrat drawn map, but if we don't, I will be running where I live and I invite you all to join me in continuing this fight. I also look forward to meeting fellow "revolutionaries" in Kendall, Kane, Will, and DeKalb Counties.
I said during the Campaign that I am a tea party conservative first, and a Republican second. You see, I believe the tea party movement is bigger than either party -- it consists of every American frustrated, concerned, angry and scared with how big government is getting and the debt we're placing on ourselves and future generations. This "silent majority" has put their faith in the Republican Party one last time to get it right.
We took a good first step in getting it right this past year. Let's make sure we Republicans continue to do what's right. Go to www.walshforcongress.com and join us in this fight.
Congressman Joe Walsh
Paid for by Walsh for Congress