“My father served in Vietnam, my brother served in the Coast Guard, and my husband continues to serve on active duty because our family believes in this great nation,” Duckworth said in a statement. “There are plenty of folks in Washington who serve political ideology and personal ambition. I want to continue serving our country.”
Pete Giangreco, a consultant who also worked on Duckworth’s 2006 campaign, says she will file with the Federal Election Commission within the next few days to run for the newly-drawn 8th district, which is currently represented by freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.).
The way the district has been reconfigured, Walsh may choose to run for re-election in the 8th or set his sights on the 14th district, where he would have to challenge fellow freshman Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.).
Duckworth’s move is not a surprise. There were rumors of Duckworth’s plans when she stepped down in June from her post as assistant secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In November 2004, an insurgent shot down the Army Black Hawk helicopter that Duckworth was co-piloting in Iraq. She lost both her legs and partial use of one arm. While recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center, she met then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who visited her several times.
Duckworth went on to become an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. She was recruited in 2006 by then-Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel to run for the seat being vacated by longtime Republican congressman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.).
After spending over $4.5 million, Duckworth lost the GOP-leaning seat by two points to now-Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). That fall she was appointed director of the Illinois Veterans’ Department, and in 2009 she joined the Obama administration.
Duckworth should have an easier go of it this time around, even though 2012 likely won’t prove to be a Democratic wave election like her first go round in 2006. Illinois’ 8th district was drawn as a blue seat under Democratic-controlled redistricting, and she won the portion of the old 6th district that is in the new 8th district.
That said, Duckworth already has a primary opponent — Raja Krishnamoorthi (D), who lost a primary bid for comptroller in 2010. He just announced that he has raised $400,000 in the second quarter.
"I respect Tammy Duckworth and any others who would enter the race. That said, I am focused on the issues that matter to voters,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. “The outpouring of support for our campaign ... shows voters are looking for a candidate who's been living in the district raising their family and who has the private and public sector experience necessary to strengthen our economy.”
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