Report Duckworth and Walsh preview, 8th District

By Contributing Writer

by: Elizabeth Earl, contributing writer

The race in Illinois’ 8th Congressional District between Democrat Tammy Duckworth and republican Joe Walsh is heating up.

Duckworth’s platform stands on one she established when she lost her congressional race in 2006. The 8th district encompasses the northwestern suburbs of Barrington, Gurnee, Winthrop Harbor, Palatine, Woodstock and a number of smaller townships. Much of the district is wealthy, and major concerns of constituents include improving education, tax reform and Medicare.

Duckworth’s declared goal is to “work across the aisle” to accomplish reform. With a policy of bipartisanship and cooperation, she said she wants to reform taxes, balance the budget and break the Republican majority in the House.

Duckworth supports the expansion of the Pell Grant program for college students, as well as federal regulation of the public school system. Her campaign has said the current system of vouchers and tax credits takes away from the quality of education long-term and needs to be abolished.

“She’s the kind of person we need in Washington to make the practical decisions that will move this economy forward out of the recession, creating good paying jobs for the future,” said Sen. Dick Durbin Aug. 15 in his endorsement at a jobs event. “People in the 8th district will have a strong voice in Tammy Duckworth.”

As of Oct. 29, Duckworth led Walsh by 10 points, according to She is endorsed by Congressman Mike Quigley (5th), and has worked with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Obama strategist David Axelrod.

The race has been characterized by controversial ads, including comments from the Walsh campaign slamming Duckworth for exploiting her disability. Duckworth lost both her legs during a 2004 tour in Iraq. She fired back by attacking a child support lawsuit against Walsh, which was settled in February. The ad called Walsh a “deadbeat dad,” which elicited a public response from Walsh’s family.

The 8th district has a history of voting Democratic, and it is expected to vote in Duckworth’s favor.