One day on the heels of being named among the most vulnerable congressional incumbents in this fall's election, fiery Tea Party-backed U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) announced he will not be attending the upcoming Republican National Convention.
"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," the freshman congressman said in a statement Thursday, CNN reports.
In his Thursday statement, Walsh invited Tammy Duckworth, his Democratic challenger in Illinois' 8th congressional district, to skip her party's convention in Charlotte. A Duckworth spokesman confirmed her attendance at the convention, where she will serve as vice chair of the Rules Committee, to the Chicago Sun-Times.
A number of other Republican figures will be skipping the GOP convention this year.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that she is fine with her colleagues not attending the Sept. 3 Democratic convention as attendance is less essential this year than in 2008, when the party was nominating a new presidential candidate.
The National Journal Wednesday identified Walsh's 8th Illinois District as the third most likely to change parties this fall, bested only by districts currently represented by retiring congressmen:
The seat gave President Obama more than 61 percent of the vote in 2008, and 45 percent of its residents are nonwhite. As one of Walsh's colleagues might say, the cake is baked.
Last week, Duckworth's campaign announced it had brought in almost $900,000 in the latest fundraising quarter, her strongest fundraising period to date.
The Duckworth news arrived following Walsh stirring up controversy when he criticized his challenger for discussing her military service.
Walsh later clarified that he does believe Duckworth, a double-amputee veteran who won a Purple Heart for her service in the Iraq War, is a hero, but added the caveat that he takes issue with her bringing up her service so often.
Walsh is no stranger to skipping major events in an attempt to prove a larger point. Last fall, he announced that he would not attend President Barack Obama's jobs speech because he didn't "see the point of being a prop for another of the president’s speeches asking for more failed stimulus spending and more subsidies for his pet projects."
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