The Chicago congressional surprise

The University of Chicago, as seen from the Mi...Image via Wikipedia
NY Times:


If you win in anger, can you govern in anger?

Mr. Walsh was not just a little-noticed congressional candidate in Chicago’s northwest suburban 8th District. He was radioactive to most establishment Republicans, who were miffed over his surprise primary victory and gave him scant help and money during the general campaign.

Deemed extreme by Republican honchos, Mr. Walsh — an unabashed Tea Party member, a business consultant and graduate of the University of Chicago’s public policy school — stunned Melissa Bean, the incumbent moderate Democrat, even though he had been dramatically outspent.

John Shimkus, a Downstate Republican congressman, jokes that the Republicans won five of their four targeted congressional districts in Illinois. Few imagined a Walsh victory.

“Generally, establishment Republicans have now embraced me, some sheepish, some guilty. I’m now their best friend,” Mr. Walsh said with a wry smile at a Barrington law firm that is giving him space until he takes office Jan. 5.

He’s been to Washington for orientation, and he hired a chief of staff — a Capitol Hill veteran who has lately been a financial services lobbyist. He has received his three committee assignments: Oversight and Reform, Small Business and Homeland Security.

Mr. Walsh, 48, will get about $1.4 million annually to run his operation and plans as many as three district branches. He’ll sleep in his office in Washington, while his family stays here in McHenry. And get this: he’s turned down the usual congressional health care, pension and retirement packages.

“I don’t think congressmen should get pensions or cushy health care plans,” he said. His wife is not exhilarated with the latter decision; she has a pre-existing medical condition and is now forced to hunt for a plan.

He is prepared to lose, which suggest that he is not willing to compromise his ideas to win reelection. He probably will do alright. I think he probably should have taken the health care.
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