* Freshman Congressman Joe Walsh’s biggest obstacle to reelection is the Republican primary next year. Unless the new map is tossed out by the courts, he’ll most likely be up against fellow freshman Republican Randy Hultgren. Whoever wins that primary will almost assuredly win in November.
Walsh, who won a fluke election against Democrat Melissa Bean last year, has brilliantly played to his hardcore base this year with multiple appearances on national cable TV shows. He has displayed an enormous talent for delivering red meat, made-for-cable rants against President Obama. Democrats and moderate independents may be horrified with Walsh’s rather odd schtick, but this is all about the 2012 primary. Up until now, I’ve considered him the odds-on favorite against Hultgren, an equally conservative, but camera-shy and soft-spoken tea partier.
* Too much heat can create a flameout, however, and Walsh’s checkered past may be starting to catch up with him…
Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a tax-bashing Tea Party champion who sharply lectures President Barack Obama and other Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, according to documents his ex-wife filed in their divorce case in December.
“I won’t place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money!” Walsh says directly into the camera in his viral video lecturing Obama on the need to get the nation’s finances in order. […]
In court documents, after his ex-wife, Laura Walsh, asked a judge to suspend his driver’s license until he paid his child support, Joe Walsh asks his ex-wife’s lawyer: “Have you no decency?”
Joe Walsh’s attorney, R. Steven Polachek, called the claim of a $117,437 debt “unfounded. […]
Before getting elected, he had told Laura Walsh that because he was out of work or between jobs, he could not make child support payments. So she was surprised to read in his congressional campaign disclosures that he was earning enough money to loan his campaign $35,000.
“Joe personally loaned his campaign $35,000, which, given that he failed to make any child support payments to Laura because he ‘had no money’ is surprising,” Laura Walsh’s attorneys wrote in a motion filed in December seeking $117,437 in back child support and interest. “Joe has paid himself back at least $14,200 for the loans he gave himself.”
Walsh’s most fervent supporters will undoubtedly dismiss this story as a “liberal media” attack on their firebrand hero. But it won’t take too many more reports like this to give Hultgren the campaign ammunition he needs to make Walsh a one-termer. Walsh’s curious ability to find money for expensive houses and large campaign loans have never been fully explained, so I expect there will be more follow-up, particularly since he has attempted to become a national spokesperson for the Obama opposition.
Also, this is Illinois. We have a long moderate tradition here (moderate meaning “temperament” rather than actual voting records). His over the top act could easily grow stale, particularly if it’s undermined by personal integrity questions.
*** UPDATE *** From a press release…
Congressman Walsh Statement on Chicago Sun-Times Hit Piece
WASHINGTON –It is not lost on me that a court case filed almost 8 months ago regarding a marriage that ended more than 8 years ago would be brought up today. We are 72 hours away from one of the biggest decisions our country has to make about its financial future. I understand why this is a story and why the media has to ask me about it. I understood as a candidate, and I understand as a sitting member of Congress that the scrutiny of my personal life will be intense. This is a tough business. It’s also not lost on me that not everyone agrees with me politically, I am the tip of the spear in this current debate, and I will be attacked.
Let me say this. I love all the members of my family past and present. I’ve always given everything I have to meet my financial obligations to my children and I will fight until my last breath against anyone who says otherwise. My children are truly the treasure of my life, which is why I’ve been trying to resolve this issue since January in a court of law, rather than drag my children into it. That is the appropriate venue and I will not discuss this private family issue in public.
The people of Illinois’ eighth congressional district voted for me not because I’m wealthy but because they wanted a fighter in Washington. They did not vote for me because I was a career politician, but because they wanted one of them as their Representative in DC. They wanted someone to stand up to Washington and tell them the spending has to stop. This morning that is exactly what I am going to continue to do.
I have tried to be the most accessible Congressman on the planet and I will continue to do so moving forward. These latest attacks against me are false and I will fight them in the appropriate venue. And as your Congressman I promise you that I am going to put my head down, get back to work and continue to fight for our freedoms and our children’s future. I’m not going to let some hit piece in the media deter me from that.