Freshman Republican Rep. Joe Walsh said today he’ll decide on Monday which congressional district he’ll seek re-election from next year.
Walsh, a tea party favorite from McHenry, had his home drawn into the new 14th Congressional District along with fellow freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield. Walsh originally planned to seek re-election by challenging Hultgren in the March GOP primary.
In recent days, however, Walsh also has been exploring a possible run in the new 8th Congressional District, which Democrats drew to favor a Democratic candidate. No major Republican contender has emerged in the district while Tammy Duckworth, a former assistant secretary in the federal Veterans Affairs department, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a former state deputy treasurer, are seeking the Democratic nomination.
“I came out a couple of months ago and said if we have to live with this stupid map, I’m going to run where I live,” Walsh told an audience of about 60 people at a town hall meeting at a St. Charles restaurant.
“I said from day one, Randy Hultgren and Joe Walsh are very different. We’re both good Republicans, but we’re very different Republicans. And so if we have to run against each other, you know what? This is going to be a Republican district,” Walsh said.
Walsh also said the new 8th District looks like “a perfect Democratic district probably for somebody named Tammy Duckworth.” Still, Walsh said, “it’s been hard to sleep at night because part of me doesn’t want to give, just give, a district to the Democrats.”
Walsh said Democrats gaining a majority to return former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi back to her post is a major factor in considering a run in the new 8th District.
“As mad as you might be with some of us Tea Party freshmen who went to Washington to be a real pain in the butt, do you really want to go back to where the Democrats, i.e., Nancy Pelosi control all of Washington? I don’t think so,” Walsh said.
Walsh said he hoped a Republican-backed federal court challenge to the map would be successful and gave no hint where he would run. His audience in St. Charles was largely from the new 14th District and he chided Hultgren for criticizing Walsh and a lack of “civility” in Washington.
“Look, look, you always want to be kind of civil and respectful,” Walsh said. “But my god, right now we are fighting for the soul of this country. I don’t want to elect civil statesmen. I want to elect revolutionaries and pick the side they’re on and, respectfully as they can, fight to save this country.”