Another Candidate Smells Blood in the 8th Congressional District

I’ve reached the conclusion that U.S. Representative Melissa Bean’s 8th congressional district seat can be “had.”

The latest to concur is Barrington-born Joe Walsh.  In the press release below, he announces the launch of an exploratory committee.

Joe Walsh Launches Exploratory Committee for IL CD-8

BARRINGTON, IL – Long-time free market activist Joe Walsh has launched an exploratory committee to determine whether he should become a candidate for the Republican nomination for the 8th District Congressional seat currently held by Democrat Melissa Bean.

According to Walsh,

“Voters are incredibly angry and frustrated by Melissa Bean’s performance over the past couple of years. 

“She voted for the failed stimulus package and Cap and Trade legislation and has voiced support for the Public Option in healthcare. 

“Now, when her constituents want their voices heard the most, she ignores their wishes by refusing to hold open town hall meetings in the district.

“The stakes are too high in this election.  We need to a put a check on the one-party rule in Washington that is bankrupting our country. 

“It is absolutely essential that we return more Republicans to Congress as a counter-balance to this out-of-control majority. 

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that any of the announced GOP candidates in the 8th district race has what it takes to defeat Melissa Bean.  If voters continue to tell me that it will take a different kind of candidate to win this race, I’ll run.”

Mr. Walsh has spent the last few months meeting with party officials, conservative activists, potential donors, and 8th district voters in an effort to assess his chances. 

His candidacy has been warmly received in the district and he has been invited to Washington D.C. this week to meet with Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Recruiting Chairman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. 

The NRCC has targeted Illinois’ 8th District as a potential chance to pick up a seat and is interested in fielding the most competitive candidate possible.

“The fact of the matter is, a competitive challenge to Melissa Bean will cost at least $2-3 million in the general election,” said Walsh.  “None of the announced candidates has demonstrated the ability to field that kind of campaign.  I think that my team and I can.”

Walsh is a native of Barrington, Illinois and he plans to move back to his hometown when he launches his campaign. 

He began his career as a teacher and a social worker before becoming a fundraiser for a number of charitable and political causes. 

Today, he works for a boutique private equity firm, raising investment capital for new and expanding businesses.  He believes that his background in raising money will be one of his greatest assets as a candidate.

He also brings the experience of running for elective office before.  In 1996 he challenged long-time incumbent Sidney Yates for the 9th Congressional District seat and in 1998 he ran for the Illinois Assembly.  According to campaign advisor and conservative activist James Leahy,

“Running for office is like learning a trade.  Having had that experience in the past will make Joe a much more effective candidate in this race.”

Mr. Walsh holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Iowa.  He and his wife Helene have five children.

More information about Mr. Walsh and his campaign can be found on his exploratory committee’s website at Joe Walsh for Congress.

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