Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) revealed during a town hall event on Thursday that he often fights with the Republican leadership, touting his independence as Republican voters will likely have to choose between him and Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) in a redrawn district.
"I get in a fight every week with my leadership," he said, as reported by the Kane County Chronicle. "And here's what the fight is about. [House Speaker] John Boehner ... this is what he tells us every week: If we would just be quiet [and] don't make waves right now. Privately, John Boehner ... doesn't want someone like me around. If it's Randy Hultgren against Joe Walsh running for this Congressional seat, I can guarantee you John Boehner and other folks are going to do whatever they can to help Randy get elected. Randy does what he's told by them."
Walsh upset incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean in 2010, thanks to strong support from the tea party. Illinois lost one seat in congressional apportionment, and Walsh faces Hultgren in a new district. Walsh, who like many members of the tea party rails against spending and debt, voted "no" on all budget measures to continue funding the government since April 9, even though the Republican leadership supported them. He has also drawn fire for controversial comments about President Barack Obama, saying the media will protect him because he is black. He refused to attend a joint session of Congress for Obama's jobs speech, calling him "idiotic."
Walsh is in a legal battle over allegations that he has not paid his child support. He reportedly owes over $115,000 in back payments to his ex-wife and children. A withholding order currently deducts $2,134 per month out of his congressional salary to pay child support.
To a crowd of 15 people, he said at the town hall, "This fight is for the soul of what this country's about ... If we send the wrong kind of Republicans to Washington next year, we're going to lose ... If we send typical Republicans to Washington, I can tell you, the typical Republicans will do what helped get us in this mess and they'll forget they're Republicans."
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