Crowd cheers as Walsh hints at continuing political career
Town hall meetings, like this one last year, have been a regular part of U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh's tenure in Congress. He held his final one on Saturday.
Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer
Having started his successful campaign three years ago with a rousing town hall meeting, recently defeated Congressman Joe Walsh vowed to go out the same way. At his final public gathering Saturday at the American Legion post in Wauconda, Walsh hinted that his political career might not have ended with his loss to Democrat Tammy Duckworth in November.
"It'd be kind of fun to run against Dick Durbin, wouldn't it?" Walsh teased, as the crowd of supporters enthusiastically erupted into applause. While the 175 people clearly would support the maverick Tea Party Republican in a race against the Democratic incumbent U.S. senator from Illinois, Walsh later said he was just joking about challenging the powerful Durbin.
But he was more open to other suggestions on ways to continue his political career. He didn't rule out another run at Congress in two years, and he also hinted that he might be willing to challenge Gov. Pat Quinn, the Democrat who is up for re-election in 2014.
"The state needs a Republican Party. This Republican Party needs a Scott Walker to run for governor, and I haven't seen or heard that candidate," Walsh said, referring to the conservative Republican candidate who won the governorship in Wisconsin. He added that he hoped to see a Republican candidate emerge from the pack in Illinois.
"I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm going to stay involved in this fight," said Walsh, who went to Congress after beating Melissa Bean of Barrington in 2010 in the 8th Congressional District, only to lose the seat in November to Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates.
Walsh promised he'd continue to fight for less government and lower taxes.
"Do I want to extend the Bush tax cuts? No," Walsh said, before quickly adding, "I want to cut them."
The crowd thanked Walsh for the fight and argued that his side shouldn't have lost the election.
"I didn't just lose in November. I'm losing," Walsh said. "We're losing our country."
A group called Citizen Action Illinois is holding a rally outside Walsh's congressional office in Fox Lake on Monday, protesting Walsh's economic positions.
Walsh assured the crowd that he'd fight any proposal to raise taxes on any Americans, even if it means sending the nation off the so-called "fiscal cliff" during his final days in Congress.
Not only did Walsh lambaste President Barack Obama and Democrats, he said his fellow Republicans in Congress don't "have the courage" needed to stand up for conservative principles. He said he wouldn't let his Republican label stop him from speaking his mind.
"You are looking at an odd duck," Walsh said.
And, for the four weeks until the new Congress is sworn in, a very feisty lame duck.
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