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updated: 12/6/2011 5:43 PM

Walsh to announce election plans Thursday

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  • Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@dailyherald.com  8th Congressman Joe Walsh, of McHenry

      Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@dailyherald.com 8th Congressman Joe Walsh, of McHenry

 
 

Eighth District Congressman Joe Walsh is postponing an announcement on which district he will seek re-election in until Thursday, his office confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

Walsh plans to make his announcement at a Tea Party meeting at the Cubby Bear in Chicago -- a spot located in neither of the districts he has been oscillating between.

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Walsh spokesman Justin Roth said the McHenry Tea Partyer chose the location because he was already flying back to attend the meeting, which had been scheduled for more than a month.

News first broke the evening of Nov. 28 that Walsh met earlier that day with Darlene Ruscitti, the DuPage County regional superintendent of education who is running as a Republican in the 8th District GOP primary race. Barrington businessman Andrew Palomo is also making a bid.

Ruscitti acknowledged that she had met with Walsh. She deferred all other questions to Walsh, saying, "I would just talk to Joe."

At town hall meetings in St. Charles and Barrington over the weekend, Walsh first said he planned to break the news on Monday whether he would switch from the 14th District, where he has spent months campaigning.

The redistricting process, controlled by the party that holds the most sway at the state Capitol -- currently the Democrats -- has created a number of headaches for Walsh and the GOP, with several districts drawn to the perceived advantage of Democrats or forcing a faceoff between two Republicans, like Walsh and current 14th District Rep. Randy Hultgren, who is running for re-election.

The recently drawn 14th District -- where Walsh's home now is located -- contains roughly a third of his current congressional district. Divided almost evenly between Kane and McHenry counties, the 14th District is expected to pull Republican in 2012.

Hultgren is seen as a tough opponent for Walsh, who is battling more mainstream members of his own party as well as allegations of late child support payments made by his ex-wife.

The new 8th District, on the other hand, contains about one-fourth of Walsh's current district, but could lean Democratic in the next election, as it now contains some of the most independent voting portions of Northwest Cook and DuPage counties -- Addison, Hanover and Elk Grove townships, and parts of Wheeling Township.

Drawn without any incumbent, it has already attracted interest from two Democrats, both of Hoffman Estates -- former state comptroller candidate Raja Krishnamoorthi and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth.

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