Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh's son spoke out in a news conference Tuesday against a TV ad and mailer that show news headlines about his dad's child-support controversy.
"My immediate reaction was, 'My little brother is going to have to go to school, and he doesn't know if everyone has seen this ad,'" said Joe Walsh, Jr., 25, who helps on his dad's campaign and was referring to brother Patrick, 18.
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The McHenry Tea Partyer's opponent, Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates, showed no indication of pulling the ads as Joe Jr. requested and said through a spokeswoman that Walsh has attacked her on "everything from her military service to the clothes she wears."
"Tammy refuses to be lectured on personal responsibility by a politician who has failed to meet his own responsibilities," Duckworth campaign manager Kaitlin Fahey said in a statement.
Duckworth's TV commercial highlights news articles from the past year reporting on the congressman's financial troubles, including a lawsuit filed by Walsh's ex-wife alleging he owed more than $100,000 in child support payments that has since been resolved.
"There's a name they call you when you don't pay your bills," the corresponding mailer reads, "deadbeat Joe."
Joe Jr. said he convinced his father to let him speak out on behalf of himself, his brother and sister Megan, 21.
Walsh and his ex-wife Laura resolved the December 2010 suit outside of court but did not describe its conditions. She was not at Tuesday's news conference at Illinois GOP headquarters in Chicago, nor was she at the April news conference Walsh held about the child support suit's dismissal. At both events, Walsh read a joint statement from the two of them that asserted he was never a "deadbeat dad."
The contest in the nationally watched 8th District congressional race has become increasingly negative on both sides. Walsh has attacked Duckworth's improper claiming of two homeowner exemptions for several years in a row, labeling her a tax cheat. He has also highlighted a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against her when she was head of the Illinois Veterans Affairs.
The 8th District sweeps from Barrington Hills to Villa Park and includes portions of Northwest Cook, eastern Kane and central DuPage counties.