Eighth District Congressman Joe Walsh may be reconsidering his congressional run in the 14th District to avoid a standoff with Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren, if assumptions about his meeting with a prospective 8th District GOP candidate are to be believed.
Darlene Ruscitti, currently the DuPage County regional superintendent of education, confirmed to the Daily Herald that she's met with Walsh since announcing her plans to run in the 8th District GOP primary. Walsh had previously announced plans to run in the 14th District after heavily-contested redistricting led by Democrats shifted his home, and some of his constituents, out of his original district, moving the 8th into a majority-Democratic territory.
Neither Walsh nor his campaign have spoken publicly about the move, but a senior Republican operative told the Daily Herald Monday that at the meeting, Walsh "sat down and said, 'I'm running in the 8th.'"
The Tea Party candidate's antics, including an outburst during a small talk with constituents, slams against President Barack Obama and veterans involved in Occupy movements and alleged $117,000 owed in negligent child support payments earned the Tea Party member national attention, which strategists argued would have inflated the cost of a standoff with Hultgren for both camps.
Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democratic contender in the 8th District, called Walsh "unelectable" after Walsh announced his original plan in September to run in the district that now contains his McHenry home, according to NBC Chicago. If Walsh wins the GOP primary he will face either Krishnamoorthi or Tammy Duckworth, formerly the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
The newly-drawn 8th District poses new challenges for Walsh, as it is a Democratic-leaning area post-redistricting, The Hill reports. Residents gave Obama more than 60 percent of its vote in 2008.
Walsh will have to make up his mind soon -- Illinois' early primary requires election bids be filed by the end of December.
Hat tip to Roll Call, which first broke this news.