Tammy Duckworth to run for Congress in 8th District

July 7, 2011 4:11:22 AM PDT
Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth will run for congress in the new 8th Congressional District in Illinois.

Duckworth recently stepped down as President Barack Obama's assistant secretary of veterans affairs.

Duckworth will file papers later this week to run.

It is not a surprise that Tammy Duckworth is coming home to run in a congressional district that appears almost tailor-made for the Iraq War heroine. However, her second campaign for congress, especially during the primary phase, could be a lot tougher than her first.

Unlike Duckworth's unsuccessful run for congress in the nearby 6th District in 2006, the 43-year-old Purple Heart awardee actually lives in the newly-formed 8th Congressional District.

"It has a lot of the parts of the 6th that I won and the folks who supported me the last time, but really, the focus of this election should be about the economy," said Duckworth.

Controlling Democrats in Springfield drew the new 8th District to include more neighborhoods that swing Democratic. The old 8th District's congressman, Republican Joe Walsh, does not live within its boundaries anymore.

Duckworth, a former state veterans affairs director, who until last month worked for the VA in Washington, responded to suggestions that her fellow Democrats designed the new district so that she could win it.

"I certainly think that this is a good district for me because it's my home, but it's also because I'm in touch with what the people in this district need," said Duckworth.

However, 37-year-old high-tech businessman and Harvard-educated attorney Raja Krishnamoorthi, who has already raised over $400,000, promises a tough primary, although he says he has "the utmost respect" for Duckworth.

"Who is going to best be able to address the central issue facing America today: which is how do we restore our economy," Krishnamoorthi said of the discussion to come in the race.

Krishnamoorthi lost a close 2010 democratic primary for state comptroller. He cites his experience in the private sector as a major difference between himself and Duckworth.

"How do we get moving again, and who has the private and public sector experience to do that? I think that's the main issue affecting Americans today," said Krishnamoorthi.

"I've served this nation both in uniform, but also in government, at both the federal level, the statewide level and I'm talking to folks here every single day about what's important to them," said Duckworth.

Duckworth plans to be a full-time candidate between now and the 2012 elections. Meanwhile, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said Wednesday he is "unsure" about who might run in the GOP's 8th District primary.

The old 8th District's congressman, Joe Walsh, was unavailable for comment. There is a report that he might run in the 14th District, which is represented by another Republican congressman, Randy Hultgren. That would be another hotly contested primary.

Walsh now lives in the new 14th District. While some Republicans have said the new maps are gerrymandered, Democrats have said that the GOP would do the same thing if they were in power.

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