Kaifesh uses economy as talking point against incumbent Duckworth

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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Incumbent Tammy Duckworth faces Republican challenger Larry Kaifesh in the race for the Eighth District.

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (WLS) -- Another important race that will be decided next Tuesday is in the Eighth Congressional District, where incumbent Tammy Duckworth is facing Republican challenger Larry Kaifesh.

The district includes northwest suburban Elgin, Schaumburg, Elk Grove Village, Addison and other parts of Cook, DuPage, Lake and Kane counties.

Eight months pregnant, Duckworth is thinking about more than Election Day.

"My little baby girl! She's due Dec. 5, one month to the day after the election," Duckworth said. "I'm really thrilled."

Meanwhile, Kaifesh knows he's the underdog.

"I think it's a tough fight but I've been doing that for a long time," Kaifesh said.

Kaifesh is a marine reserve colonel who performed active-duty combat missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Democrat Duckworth, in her first term, is an army veteran who lost both legs in Iraq when the helicopter she piloted was shot down. Kaifesh says he believes that in 2014, Duckworth is vulnerable in the northwest suburban district.

"On a non-presidential year, it doesn't lean to the Democratic Party as it does in a presidential year," Kaifesh said.

"I've been very proud that in the polls my job approval rating from both democrats and republicans has been that I've done a good job," Duckworth said.

Kaifesh contends the economy in the district is slow to recover from the great recession.

"I've never seen it worse or more depressed," Kaifesh said. "People are hurting. People want real change."

But Duckworth defended support for most of Obamacare, social security and Medicare.

"If you want to alleviate suffering in the district, then you need to make sure you support those social service and safety net programs," Duckworth said.

"She's basically followed the likes of Nancy Pelosi and the administration," Kaifesh said. "She hasn't taken a role in leadership and looked after constituents and the country."

"If you look at my voting record, you'll see that I've been very much an independent voice and he's just using very conservative Tea Party talking points," Duckworth said.

"I'm not a party guy. I'm not going to be beholden to anybody," Kaifesh said.

Duckworth has raised anywhere from four to five times as much money as Kaifesh. Also, the Illinois governor's race could be a factor in the Eighth District as that high-profile contest could determine the turnout there.