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This just in… Walsh primary opponent drops out - Will co-chair state GOP “victory” operation

Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011

* 2:32 pm - Rather than face a Republican primary against Congressman Joe Walsh, Darlene Ruscitti has dropped out of the 8th CD contest. From a press release…

Today, after careful consideration with family, supporters and friends, I have decided not to run for Congress in the 8th Congressional District.

My campaign collected over 4,000 petition signatures, signed up hundreds of volunteers and gained the support of dozens of elected officials - but my role as a leader within the Illinois Republican Party and a desire to avoid a costly primary outweigh my personal political aspirations.

Service to this great state and nation is the reason I decided to run for Congress and that passion for public service will continue to guide me as an educator and civic leader in the years to come.

Attempts to reach Ms. Ruscitti’s campaign have been unsuccessful, but other Republicans have confirmed that she’s getting out of the race.

* I’m told campaign finances were a consideration in this decision. She hasn’t raised much cash, and Walsh has a bunch of dough in the bank.

* By the way, this story is from last month, but Judy Biggert may have at least one primary opponent

Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham will officially enter the contest for the new 11th Congressional District Nov. 28, when he expects to turn in his petition sheets. Cunningham Thursday confirmed his commitment to the race. It will be his second run for Congress. His last attempt came nearly 40 years a go.

“I’ve been going door-to-door and the response so far has been very positive,” Cunningham said. “So far the media is picking up more on my opponent’s name, but that was expected.” […]

Cunningham has said he plans on touting his residence within the 11th District as a major campaign issue. Other than that, he plans on running on a conservative platform featuring pro-life and protection of the Second Amendment.

Possibly joining Cunningham and Biggert in the potential GOP primary are Aurora Alderman Richard Irvin and Grundy County Board member Chris Balkema, who have both expressed an interest in entering the race.

* 3:33 pm - Tammy Duckworth…

“The choice for voters in the 8th Congressional District couldn’t be more clear. Just this week, Joe Walsh voted to increase taxes on 6.5 million middle-income families in Illinois starting January 1st. And then he voted to take a holiday vacation. He’s clearly not the kind of leader the 8th Congressional District needs.”

“Now is not the time to raise taxes on working families. Too many are concerned about how to pay their mortgages and credit card bills. And if I were in Congress, I wouldn’t have left without doing everything I could to pass the payroll tax cut extension.”

*** 3:45 pm *** So, apparently, this is what Ruscitti was talking about when she said she has a leadership role in the party. From a press release…

ILGOP Appoints Dr. Darlene Ruscitti Statewide Victory Co-Chair

Prominent suburban Republican takes on role with #1 Victory Program in the Nation

Chicago - Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady today named DuPage County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Darlene Ruscitti Co-Chair of the statewide Victory Program - the number one Victory operation in the country in 2010.

“Dr. Ruscitti is the first elected official to serve in this capacity for the Party and is a perfect choice given her background as a suburban leader in the state’s second largest Republican county,” said Brady. “Darlene’s experience gives us the competitive edge our ground game needs with so many important races in 2012″

The Illinois Republican Party Victory operation was first in the nation in 2010 beating states like Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin with over 4.1 million volunteer contacts. The program was critical to victory in 5 congressional races and 3 statewide elections.

“The Victory Program was instrumental in my race for Senate and Darlene is the suburban leader we need to lead our targeted races to victory in 2012,” said Senator Mark Kirk.

“As a leader in Congress and Illinois, I am committed to the Illinois Republican Victory Program and can’t think of a better person to help lead this effort than Dr. Darlene Ruscitti,” said Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam.

“I’ve known Darlene for many years and her hard work and record of success on winning campaigns will be an invaluable asset to our candidates in a competitive election year”, said Congresswoman Judy Biggert.

This is starting to look like a well-coordinated nudge out of the race.

* 4:51 pm - Joe Walsh…

Reaction from Congressman Joe Walsh on the decision by Darlene Ruscitti to exit the race for the 8th District

Darlene Ruscitti is an incredible force within the Republican Party and local politics. I have a good deal of respect for her leadership, both in the Party and in public service. She is a prime example of what good, honest government should be. The people of Bloomingdale Township & DuPage County are fortunate to have Darlene in office.

Our government only works when good people decide to step forward and I applaud Darlene for having done so. I am excited to work with her to do what is best for the people of the 8th District. There’s much work to be done in Washington and I will continue to look to her as a shining example of leadership and service. I decided to run for Congress two years ago because of a desire to take back our country. I know that Darlene is driven by the same commitment to less government, lower taxes and a federal government that allows small businesses and individuals to prosper.

This decision must have been a difficult one for Darlene, her family and supporters, but, by doing so, Darlene chose to put her country and party ahead of political interest. Now, Darlene will be spearheading the Illinois Republican Party’s Victory operation. In that capacity, she will be responsible for the most important aspects of insuring Republican victories up and down the ballot across the state. I look forward to working very closely with her to get this District and the country working again.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 2:37 pm:


  2. - Suburbanon - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 2:43 pm:

    I’m disappointed. Ruscitti is exactly the kind of Republican who should be running in that district, to counter extremists like Walsh. Sad.

  3. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 2:47 pm:

    So, national GOP leaders offer Walsh over $2M to move his campaign to the 8th District, and despite Peter Roskam’s and other good Republicans’ endorsements, his opponent removes herself due to her “role as a leader in the Illinois Republican Party”. I can’t help but believe they are preparing another disaster for themselves, or for us all.

  4. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 2:47 pm:

    Running for office is no picnic. Running against someone with a track record as a bully who has the backing of the folks with a record of in-your-face negativity may have been a too much.

    I don’t know anything about Ms. Ruscitti, but I would not call her a coward. Sometimes the potential reward is simply not worth the struggle it would entail. If that is what she decided, I think people should respect it.

  5. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 2:56 pm:

    I guess Roskam and Biggert couldn’t help her out. Those Tea Party freshmen are running the GOP House now.

  6. - reformer - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 2:57 pm:

    Walsh got clobbered in the Cook part of his district last year. The new 8th is more Democratic and is mainly northwest Cook with North DuPage plus Elgin.

    If Walsh gets hammered in the general by Duckworth, that may hurt Republicans below him on the ballot.

  7. - Nice Kid - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:02 pm:

    Disappointing. Add her to the list of republicans who want to stay as far away from that clown as possible.

  8. - Fuzzballz - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:02 pm:

    Joke…A good moral person has to get out over cash… We all lose because the National support is for Walsh ONLY because he has money…Illinois supports Darlene because she is decent and could win…Too bad they support with MONEY$$$$ We lose.

  9. - Fuzzballz - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:07 pm:

    Furthermore, we get the Government we deserve. I marched in DC for the tea party…I don’t recall it being in support of people that shop districts and run where they don’t live…tea partier joe or career politician like a rat to stay on the boat… Nothing personal, but this Primary would have been the chance to show that Ruscitti was the better person… We all should have wrote checks..clearly that is all that matters…

  10. - Lakeview - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:08 pm:

    The Republican Party is on a suicide mission.

  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:13 pm:

    ===and run where they don’t live===

    Why do you hate the US Constitution?

    ===No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.===

  12. - reformer - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:17 pm:

    Joe Walsh lives many miles outside the new 8th District. While it’s kosher for him to run in the new district, the irony is that Melissa Bean lived just outside the current 8th district, and Republicans hammered her as a carpetbagger.

  13. - Fuzzballz - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:22 pm:

    I understand it is legal to run… I only hate we don’t have term limits…. i hate good people can’t represent us because they are not backed by millionaires…. I hate that this country is being flushed down the crapper and it’s all about Joe you can run in the eighth… I don’t care about your personal issues, but the class Ruscitti has he never will…

  14. - The NKI - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:51 pm:

    Well I guess this means that I will have more time to commit to other races.

  15. - Cal Skinner - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:53 pm:

    For those term limit fans, Walsh has repeatedly said he will not serve more then 3 terms.

  16. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 3:57 pm:

    That’s the kind of Cal Skinner optimism we all miss in Springfield.

    Wow, what a tough year for Darlene.
    First Quinn wipes out her pay, then Walsh wipes out her campaign. Talk about getting the full Illinois experience.

    Who knew Quinn and Walsh were now driving the combine?

  17. - Fuzzballz - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 4:07 pm:

    Whoa!!! Walsh says 3 terms in congress. Nothing about senate. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. She’s the only Super worth her weight… Quinn line itemed all 44 Sups pay. Not just hers. But they should be scared of her. She’s got brains and gets results. Never says a bad word or wrong thing. Durbin watch out… They came to her for this 8th. The only way joe can win is if she brings DuPage.

  18. - bored now - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 4:13 pm:

    === Walsh has repeatedly said he will not serve more then 3 terms ===

    pretty easy promise to make when you never thought you’d get one (and walsh will be one and done)…

  19. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 4:13 pm:

    Fuzzballs, try to take a breath. Thanks.

  20. - Fuzzballz - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 4:22 pm:

    It’s FuzzballZ … I’m just worked up. I will take a breather….time for a beverage.

  21. - reformer - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 4:31 pm:

    Republican congressmen from Illinois who promise voluntary term limits have a poor track record of keeping their pledges.

  22. - The Captain - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 4:34 pm:

    I strongly agree with what Pot calling kettle said at 2:47.

    In other potentially more entertaining news Walsh was nominated in several categories (along with a certain former Governor) for the Golden Dukes. I certainly hope Cap Fax readers remember to stuff the ballot box in the style native to our land.

  23. - chris robling - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 5:01 pm:

    All admiration to Dr. Ruscitti. Tough call. As to Sen Kirk and Chmn Brady asking her to help — it shows both her prominence and the esteem in which she is held.

    The Dems at the top of the comment list well understand the benefit to our side this represents, and reply accordingly. One should expect a barn-burner of a race out there, regardless who wins the Dem primary.

    See you then.

    PS — Please continue to underestimate Cong. Walsh. It is important that you do. Cheers, c

  24. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 5:11 pm:

    Handwriting on the wall for Darlene. Don’t worry, she will be rewarded by the ILGOP in the future for her withdrawal.

    Sounds like Judy Biggert has little to worry about.

  25. - Been There - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 5:57 pm:

    Not sure how much of this was planned when Walsh switched races but I think the GOP (and I’m a Dem) is in a better spot now. Walsh may have beaten Roskam and Tammy or Raja will probably win. They are now almost assured of Roskam winning and Walsh will be a gone. Bird in the hand …

  26. - CicularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 6:03 pm:

    Maybe there is a combine…Gags Brady tosses a qualified woman for Deadbeat Joe…..Yikes
    Fire. Aim. Ready

  27. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 8:57 pm:

    Darlene Ruscitti = Sell Out

    This is so disgusting. Who wants to work with someone who is not only a sell-out, but a cheap sell-out?

    Pat Brady and Joe Walsh must be getting a good laugh at Ruscitti’s expense right now. Not only did Ruscitti go cheap, but now the IL GOP gets to pin next year’s election disaster on her. IL GOP always needs a patsey. Good going Darlene.

  28. - bored now - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 9:01 pm:

    === Please continue to underestimate Cong. Walsh. It is important that you do. ===

    while you may choose to pretend that walsh had something to do with his election, i’d merely note that it would take another wave election of monstrous proportions to elect a joe walsh to congress. wave elections tend to propel a couple of weak candidates into office, and i think we can all agree that walsh was the very definition of a weak candidate. aside from money, i see no indicators that suggest that he’s a stronger candidate than he was in 2010 (i don’t think there’s a democrat in the country that wouldn’t want to run against him with all his baggage and his propensity to shoot off his mouth)…

  29. - shore - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 10:42 pm:

    If Roskam is a power he’s supposed to make people like this woman into primary winners and competitive general election candidates the way some democrats made duckworth viable against him 6 years ago. Show’s that for the number 4 house gop’er he can’t quite make it happen in his front yard.

  30. - Not sayin - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 11:04 pm:

    Just sayin…. The amount of wins the GOP get will be helped by Darlene. But in 2years she can run. With more money. That’s all this was about. She has integrity. Just smart like a fox. Why run now?

  31. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 21, 11 @ 11:09 pm:

    ===Why run now? ===

    Because it’s an open seat. In two years, you’re up against an incumbent.

  32. - just sayin' - Thursday, Dec 22, 11 @ 12:59 am:

    Wonder how much cash Jack Roeser had to promise Pat Brady and the IL GOP to oil this deal? Shame on Ruscitti for going along.

    Ruscitti looks weak and tainted. And Walsh looks weak and like a hypocrite for crawling to the establishment he rails against in order to save his skin.

    Good luck on the “Victory” thing.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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