* 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.