Tammy Duckworth moving closer to congressional run

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WASHINGTON — Tammy Duckworth wrapped up duties at the Veterans Affairs Department on Thursday and is back in Hoffman Estates–Friday making calls about a potential 8th congressional district run.

I’m told that Duckworth will firm up a decision to run in the next few weeks–after she has touched base with supporters.

I broke the news last month that Duckworth–a wounded Iraq war vet–was leaving the VA–and running for the House again was an option. Duckworth was banned by federal law–it’s called the Hatch Act–to do any politics while she was still at the VA. From what I gather, I expect a lot of people will be hearing from Duckworth very soon.

If Duckworth gets in–as I anticipate she will–she will–as it stands now–face a Democratic primary fight for the nomination. Raja Krishnamoorthi who lost a primary bid for Illinois comptroller last year has already launched a campaign. On Friday, his campaign said in a release Krishnamoorthi has in the last five and a half weeks put $400,000 into his warchest.

In 2006, Duckworth, 43, ran for the House in the present Illinois 6th Congressional District, beat by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) in a close race. Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) represents the current 8th congressional district, winning his seat by a few hundred votes in 2010. In 2012, candidates will run under a new map; Democrats in Springfield drew the lines in the 8th to bolster the chances of a Democratic victory. Walsh has not said what he will do.

If Duckworth ran for the House again, she would have a much stronger position than the first time around–her resume is more formidable–since 2006 she ran the Illinois veterans agency and is one of the top VA officials in Washington– and she would be running from the more Democratic district.

Her Hoffman Estates home is in the proposed new 8th district, designed by Illinois Democrats to have a Democratic tilt.The new 8th contains territory from the present 6th district where Duckworth beat Roskam.

When Duckworth ran in 2006, her candidacy was supported by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), then Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and then Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), now Chicago’s mayor, then running the House political operation.

Duckworth lost both legs and shattered an arm when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq in November, 2004.

Duckworth was tapped by Obama in February, 2009 to be one of the top spots in the VA– Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Last month, Obama also named Duckworth to the American Folklife Center board.

Duckworth was born in Thailand and grew up in Hawaii. Her husband, Major Bryan Bowlsbey is an Iraq war vet and a National Guard officer. Duckworth is a major in the Illinois National Guard.

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