Is Rep. Joe Walsh Going to Switch Districts? Or Not, as the Case May Be?

-By Warner Todd Huston

Rumors are coursing through McHenry and Cook Counties that Representative Joe Walsh is going to switch districts for his upcoming re-election campaign… or keep the same one, as the case may be. And you can blame this mess on redistricting.

You see, Walsh is currently the 8th District’s Representative but due to redistricting he had announced that he was going to enter into a primary fight against current 14th District Representative Randy Hultgren. One of Walsh’s reasons is that redistricting puts his house in the newly re-configured 14th District. So, Walsh felt he needed to run against Hultgren who intends to continue service as the 14th’s man in D.C.

The battle was early shaping up to be a giant mess. Charges and counter charges had already heated up between surrogates for the two candidates and an unnamed Walsh supporter had started a Facebook page that was created solely to attack Hultgren.

It promises (or maybe now promised — past tense) to be a bruising primary between Hultgren and Walsh.

But not so fast. News has it that Walsh had a low-key, private meeting with 8th District Republican candidate Darlene Ruscitti, the DuPage Superintendent of Education who is looking to broaden her political horizons.

Ruscitti confirmed to the Daily Herald that she took that meeting but would not confirm as to what the whole thing was about.

The Herald reports that one of those ever ready unnamed sources is saying that Walsh told Ruscitti that he has changed his mind about facing Hultgren in the 14th and is now going to run in the new 8th.

I have to say that from some of the inside baseball I was hearing it didn’t look like Walsh was going to be able to easily knock Hultgren off so this switch back to running in the (new) 8th is probably a better move. The new 8th still has some territory favorable to the GOP — some areas westward toward Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, and such — so maybe he can beat the Democrat (which will likely be Tammy Duckworth). Granted these suburbs have been trending Democrat lately, but they aren’t solid blue yet.

Anyway, Democrat candidate Duckworth of Hoffman Estates is taking the news seriously. She’s already sent out a fund raising letter asking left-wingers to send her money so she can beat Tea Party favorite Walsh.

All this messing around and uncertainly is result of redistricting. It is precisely the sort of mess that Democrats hoped to create for Republicans. It most certainly worked.

But this incident shows another thing besides messy redistricting troubles for Republicans. It shows that the GOP establishment was already lining up behind Ruscitti for the 8th. It should be noted that there are two other candidates already announced for the 8th District. Andrew Palomo announced a few months ago and so did Rich Evens. But Walsh met with Ruscitti showing that he thought her the top candidate of the trio, the one he had to explain himself to.

Now the bigger question is this: will the GOP establishment stay with Ruscitti or will it back Walsh the new/old 8th man? From what I know about that ol’ GOP establishment, they ain’t too fond of Joe!

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