Roll Call is reporting Monday night that Congressman Joe Walsh (IL-8) met with declared the 8th CD Republican candidate Darlene Ruscitti earlier in the day. Roll Call says Walsh appears to be headed out of the 14th CD race and towards the redrawn 8th CD.
Walsh met with an aspiring GOP candidate in the 8th district, DuPage County Superintendent of Education Darlene Ruscitti, this afternoon and told her he planned to run there instead, according to a source with knowledge of the encounter.
Walsh’s chief of staff, Justin Roth, would not confirm whether Walsh would switch races to mount an uphill battle in the redrawn, likely Democratic 8th district. But a Walsh switch would relieve Republicans of a major primary battle in the 14th district, a safe GOP seat west of Chicago.
Freshman Congressman Randy Hultgren is running for re-election in the 14th. Correction: The Hultgren-ousted 14th CD Democrat Congressman Bill Foster will be challenging Congresswoman Judy Biggert (IL-11) in November 2012. The only Democrat that has declared in the 14th for the 2012 election is McHenry County Democratic Chairman Frank McClatchey, whose website slams Tea Partiers and subtly promotes 99%-ers.
If Walsh chooses to run in the 8th and wins the GOP March primary, he would face either Democrat Iraqi War veteran Tammy Duckworth or former Illinois Deputy Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi.
While the Illinois Republicans' opposition to the federal redistricting map has not yet been decided in court, Walsh was urged to run against Hultgren in the more Republican-leaning new 14th rather than the 8th CD he now represents. U.S. House members are not required to live in their districts, and voters tend to be more tolerant of candidates' residential locations in elections immediately following scheduled ten-year redistricting. The Democrats drew Hultgren and Walsh into the same district, banking on this very candidate confusion to develop.
Last summer when the newly-drawn maps were released, the DC-influential Club for Growth encouraged Walsh to run in the 14th rather than the 8th. The NRCC reportedly told Walsh they would financially support him if he chose to run in the his current district.