Walsh to seek re-election in 8th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh announces he will seek re-election in the 8th Congressional District Thursday night at the Cubby Bear in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago. (Phil Velasquez/Tribune)

Congressman Joe Walsh told supporters tonight he plans to seek re-election in the 8th Congressional District, a change of heart from three months ago.

The decision means Walsh is likely to win the Republican primary but face a stiff general election challenge from a Democratic field that includes Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.

In September, Walsh had said he would run in the new 14th Congressional District, which meant a tough primary against fellow conservative freshman Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield in DuPage County.

While shopping for a district, Walsh had told a Town Hall meeting in St. Charles last weekend, “I’m going to let the world know Monday what I’m going to do.” Monday passed with no word from Walsh until his campaign announced his Thursday night appearance at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Tea Party.

Tonight's meeting was held in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood—far from any of the districts he had considered representing but closer to big media. His announcement was held at a bar in the newly drawn 5th Congressional District, which includes the Chicago home of Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley and stretches to the Hinsdale residence of veteran Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert.

Walsh, a darling of the tea party movement, has been a controversial political figure. While holding several town hall meetings, he’s also sharply rebuked some questioners and remains involved in a court dispute with his former wife over child support.