A close race formally ended in the Illinois 8th District tonight, as incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean conceded to Tea Party favorite Joe Walsh. Walsh had declared himself the winner on Election Night, but Bean waited for absentee ballots to be counted before delivering her concession.
Walsh had a difficult time on the campaign trail. He got sued by a former campaign manager for $20,000 in unpaid fees. The national Republican Party left his campaign for dead. Bean, an agile Democrat who specialized in ducking out of town hall meetings, was considered almost impossible to beat. Walsh played a solid ground game, making numerous public appearances and successfully linking Bean to excessive government spending, particularly ObamaCare.
At the beginning of October, the New York Times was giving Walsh only a 20% chance to win. He was able to beat those odds to improve the commanding Republican majority in the House. The local Daily Herald reports he won by 291 votes. As the presumptive winner, Walsh was already in Washington for freshman orientation.
Meanwhile, over in the Senate, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, another Republican senator appears ready to journey to Washington. The bad news is, it’s Lisa Murkowski. Fox News reports she is on the verge of declaring victory, with just over a 2000 vote lead against Tea Party candidate Joe Miller, who defeated her in the GOP primary. She’ll be the first Senator to win on a write-in vote since 1954. She’s supposed to caucus with the Republicans, but has little interest in all these spending cuts people keep babbling about, and plans to arrive on Capitol Hill in a fetching coat made of earmarks.