Update with Duckworth response...
WASHINGTON--Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) announced Thursday he will skip the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August and challenged Democratic rival Tammy Duckworth to not go to her party convention in Charlotte--where she is the vice-chair of the Rules Committee. Duckworth's campaign Thursday confirmed she will attend the convention.
Walsh is among a group of House members in tough races--in both parties--opting out of the conventions. Walsh instead said in a statement he will host events in the district during the August convention--and asked Duckworth to hold joint events with him. Duckworth has declined Walsh's overtures for joint events, maintaining her own campaign schedule.
Walsh and Duckworth are running for a seat in the northwest suburban eighth congressional district.
Congressman Walsh stated, "Not as a candidate or as a Congressman have I ever been one of the political class. I came to Washington to serve the people of my district and reclaim our country from the growth of government. Rather than mingle with Party insiders in Tampa, I will be in the 8th district to continue to serve as an independent voice for for the people."
Walsh added, "My opponent, Tammy Duckworth, has always been the preferred pick of Democrat Party insiders from Blagojevich to Emmanuel. Despite that, I hope she will join me in skipping the conventions to tour the district to discuss the real issues that matter to real people. The conventions are nothing more than an excuse to mingle with insiders and party with the elite. This district does not want just another insider to represent them; they want an independent who will fight for real solutions to the issues."
Duckworth spokesman Kaitlin Fahey said, "Tammy will be attending the National Democratic Convention in September. Illinois Democrats have asked Tammy Duckworth to represent our state as a delegate and the party has also asked Tammy to serve as Vice Chair of the Rules Committee."
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, in an interview with Politico published Wednesday, said it was not important for candidates to attend the convention--and that contests in Illinois could determine if the Democrats retake the House.