Billed as a joint appearancebefore Nunda Township precinct committeemen, the two men seeking the nomination to the new 14th Congressional District spent the evening positioning themselves before a friendly crowd and a Northwest Herald reporter.
Randy Hultgren was at the 7 PM meeting ahead of time with his campaign manager Joe Calomino and Field Director Nick Provenzano.
There wasn’t much time for mixing after I got there until the meeting started. Something about a Bears game starting at 8.
Much of Hultgren’s talk was similar to the one he gave Friday night at his Crystal Lake pizza party.
He referred to the mid-November Federal Court hearing on the reapportionment map drawn by Illinois Democrats.
He told how he had been a Precinct Committeeman for 22 years and had gotten involved in supporting candidates as a Young Republican in DuPage County.
He called himself “a citizen legislator” until this year, being a lawyer and a financial advisor before entering Congress.
“I’m fed up,” he remembered thinking before announcing for Congress. “I have to do something,” he said at the time
He beat the better known House Speaker Denny Hastert’s son Ethan 55-45. He said Ethan was now “a strong supporter.”
Probably a not-so-subliminal message there.
Hultgren said he was a strong believer in building a farm team for the Republican Party.
“I fought against leadership in Springfield,” Hultgren mentioned.
In what could become a campaign slogan, Hultgren said the “choice was between a leader and a cheer leader.”
He emphasized he had run 16 races and was “successful in every single one of them.”
“I am one of you,” the DuPage County resident said as he took his leave saying he had to get his two youngest back home.
Walsh had arrived by that time and Nunda Township Republican Party Chairman Brent Smith vented his frustration:
“You’re putting us in a pickle. You’re both leaders. We’re going to get screwed.
“I do not want to see negative campaigning I see it already in letters to the editor.
“If it comes down to a Congressional race [between] Hultgren and Walsh, [Hultgren and Walsh] didn’t put us in this place.
“Focus your anger on one man, Mike Madigan.
Smith called Hultgren and Walsh “two good men running against each other. It stinks,” he said, pointing out there is a chance that the the reapportionment map will be overturned.
Walsh asked for a positive campaign when he spoke, specifically addressing Hultgren campaign people Provenzano and Calomino.
“We will be telling the truth,” Calomino replied.
“The minute one doesn’t stay positive, I’m going after them whoever it is.”
“I am, too,” Smith chimed in.
Speaking of Hultgren, Walsh said,
“I’m going to be grabbing his hand to have the most respectful [campaign].
“We are different representatives.
“We are both good representatives.”
While Hultgren arrived early and left early, Walsh stayed late, to the bitter end, so to speak.