While Republicans held their National Convention in Tampa this week, many members of the Illinois GOP congressional delegation were noticeably absent.
Freshman Reps. Joe Walsh, Bobby Schilling, and Robert Dold, facing competitive races this fall, all skipped out of the festivities to stay home and campaign in their respective districts.
“My number one priority is the same one I have had throughout this entire campaign, to hear from voters. I have no interest in traveling to Tampa to waste time attending parties with political insiders,” stated Rep. Walsh.
Democrats in the state used the decennial redistricting process to redraw Illinois’s congressional districts in favor of Democrats to help return the speakership to Nancy Pelosi.
Illinois is now considered to be a top battleground state for control of the U.S. House.
While addressing members of the Illinois GOP delegation at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Speaker of the House John Boehner said "They went wild with the new districts in Illinois.”
“They did a lot of overreaching, the Illinois Democrats. And as a result, I think we’ve got some real opportunities, but we have some tough races there and so I want to urge all of you from Illinois to continue to work with your members, make sure they get reelected because that’s the only thing that’s going to keep Nancy Pelosi from getting this job back,” concluded Boehner.
Nationally, much attention is focused on the presidential race, and with Illinois all but certain to go to President Obama, Republicans in the state will be focusing their energies on retaining key congressional seats to prevent a Pelosi return to power.