Working a room at a luncheon, three-term Congresswoman Melissa Bean of Barrington seems most comfortable showing her economic charts.
Bean voted for the stimulus, and strongly believes that it worked.
"The Recovery Act, even according to John McCain's economic advisor, along with TARP and some of the actions taken by the fed, essentially avoided eight million more Americans becoming unemployed," said Bean.
Bean's Republican opponent, Joe Walsh, a proud tea party member, is skeptical of the stimulus and government spending he views as out of control.
"We are spending money we don't have and we have gotta stop that," said Walsh. "The only hope to stop right now is a Republican-controlled congress."
While he preaches fiscal conservatism, Walsh has had his own financial problems: an Evanston condo that went into foreclosure and, according to Cook County records, Walsh was handed several liens in the 1990s for failing to pay state and federal income taxes.
Walsh, now a McHenry resident, says he views his past problems as a campaign strength.
"We all know someone who has lost a home; we all know somebody who has lost a job; we all know somebody who has struggled to pay their bills," said Walsh. "That's what we need - we need people like that to represent us."
According to polls, Bean has a big lead over Walsh. However, Walsh says the congresswoman's recent television ad is a sign that she is worried. Bean says she is not.
"I'm very much a good fit for the district, while my opponent doesn't, with his extreme and irresponsible positions," said Bean.
"What is more extreme? I'm pro-life - no exceptions," said Walsh. "Melissa Bean supports late-term abortions and public funding of abortions."
While both major party candidates attack each other, Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer says voters should consider him.
"I'm running to stand for the real interests of working people and to call for an end to these massive trade and budget deficits, and neither of the other parties are capable of doing either of those," said Scheurer.
Voters had a chance to hear from all three candidates as they recently appeared together in a forum for this first time.