11/03/2011 11:03 am ET Updated Jan 03, 2012

Joe Walsh Slams Opponent For Child Support Questions, Defends Herman Cain

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is vowing to make the race for Illinois' 14th District "issues-driven" after a poll taken by his GOP opponent questioned voters about his personal life.

Walsh has repeatedly denied claims made by his ex-wife that he owes her more than $100,000 in unpaid child support, but he has yet to make his case in court. Meanwhile, Walsh's GOP opponent in the 14th District, Rep. Randy Hultgren, has taken a poll to determine how Walsh's personal baggage might hurt him politically.

The Daily Herald reports:

Hultgren campaign spokesman Andrew Flach declined to release a script of the poll, but said “as far as the language is concerned, we only tested on things that were already in the media. We didn’t break new ground.”

Yet, after hearing from constituents that the poll contained a number of questions on child support and his financial past, Walsh is calling the effort a “push poll” — a political campaign technique designed to influence voters by disseminating negative and false information — and evidence of a dirty campaign.

“If he raises his voice and calls into question who I am as a father, I’ll punch him in the face, figuratively speaking,” Walsh told the Daily Herald.

The race for the 14th District is expected to be among the most watched in the country, and Walsh wants to keep personal issues out of it -- for obvious reasons. He told the suburban Chicago newspaper that he would sign a pledge to make his campaign against the low-key Hultgren "issues driven."

As Walsh dealt with the backlash of his own dirty laundry, he joined a chorus of House Republicans in dismissing sexual harassment allegations against GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

“Tell us what it is and then let’s move on and talk about what you’re doing for the country,” Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) said of the allegations against Cain, according to the Washington Post. “Everybody’s got stuff. Your profession’s got to grow up. We as politicians need to grow up. The American people need to grow up.”

Walsh's pretrial conference in his child support lawsuit is scheduled for next week.