WASHINGTON--Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh's (R-Ill.) main GOP 8th District primary rival, DuPage Superintendent of Schools Darlene Ruscitti,dropped out Wednesday, leaving Walsh an easy path to win the March contest.
Presuming he wins the nomination, Walsh in November will face a big battle in the north and northwest suburban district--redrawn by Democratic mapmakers to lean Democratic-- against either Tammy Duckworth or Raja Krishnamoorthi who are in their own primary fight.
It appears the Illinois Republican Party assisted in clearing the field for Walsh--who did the party a favor by removing himself from what would have been a contested 14th District GOP primary against fellow freshman Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) on Dec. 8.
By moving over to the 8th, Walsh saved Republican money and gave the GOP a better known and better financed general election contender.
Still, Ruscitti was able to raise her profile in her short bid; in stepping aside for Walsh, she was tapped by Illinois Republican chair Pat Brady to a state party leadership spot.
"My campaign collected over 4,000 petition signatures, signed up hundreds of volunteers and gained the support of dozens of elected officials - but my role as a leader within the Illinois Republican Party and a desire to avoid a costly primary outweigh my personal political aspirations," Ruscitti said in a statement.