Emanuel endorses Duckworth in 8th District race

February 22, 2012 2:18:19 PM PST
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is endorsing former Veteran Affairs Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth. She is running against former deputy treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi for the Democratic nomination in the 8th Congressional District.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is endorsing former Veteran Affairs Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth. She is running against former deputy treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi for the Democratic nomination in the 8th Congressional District

The district is currently represented by Joe Walsh, the Tea Party incumbent, who will face the Democratic winner.

The newly remapped 8th District includes Elgin, Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates. The Democratic race is a match between the star candidate and the business and policy wonk. And now Mayor Emanuel has waded in.

"Tammy (Duckworth)'s no stranger to fighting for her beliefs, no matter the risk," Emanuel said in a written statement. "She understands better than most the economic struggles people are facing right now. That's why I'm supporting her."

The mayor backed Duckworth in her failed 2006 congressional bid when he was head of the Democratic National Congressional Committee. Now, as mayor, his endorsement is likely to get her more money and prestige.

"It is going to mean great support for the campaign," said Duckworth. "We already are raising tremendous amounts of money, but what I am most pleased about is that 90 percent of my donors have given me $100 or less."

But, in Bensenville, businessman and former Illinois Deputy Treasurer Krishnamoorthi says Duckworth is a spent political force and he is the person with a detailed jobs plan who can beat 8th District incumbent.

"One of the messages the Tea Party espouses is that the Democratic and progressive agenda is a job-killing agenda," said Krishnamoorthi. "And I am uniquely suited as a small businessman to put the lie to that assertion, and say, 'No, the Democratic agenda isn't job killing, it is job creating.' "

Krishnamoorthi has received a large number of state and local endorsements, according to his website. Duckworth has said those don't matter in a federal race, and in a TV interview she added, "(Krishnamoorthi) was able to get a lot of endorsements before people realized I was going to be declared."

Political analyst Laura Washington says the winner of this nomination ought to be able to beat Walsh.

"He is a prominent Tea Party member. He's a target that is going to be a marquee race in the fall, and the Democratic party is going to put a lot of money and attention to that race," said Washington.

And that's also because almost none of the geographic territory of Walsh's current 8th District falls within the boundaries of the new 8th -- which was created in the recent Democratic redistricting process. In fact, no incumbent congressman lives in the newly drawn area.

Given that it appears to be a majority-Democratic district, it appears to be a prime takeover target.