Politics

Joe Walsh son pleads for Tammy Duckworth to pull 'deadbeat dad' ad

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

With 14 days before Election Day, the race for the 8th Congressional District is getting more personal.

The son of Republican candidate Joe Walsh is asking his father's Democratic opponent, Tammy Duckworth, to pull campaign ads that he says are hurtful to his family.

Duckworth said Tuesday she has no intention of pulling the ad, which hits Walsh on the issue of child support payments.

Tuesday, the oldest of Walsh's three adult children said it was his idea, not his father's, to speak out.

"Please, Ms. Duckworth, try to win this campaign by focusing on issues where you disagree with our dad. But don't attack him as a father," said Joe Walsh, Jr.

Those words from the 25-year-old son of Congressman Joe Walsh are in response to an ad produced by Tammy Duckworth's campaign:

"The Sun-times says Walsh is a deadbeat dad who was forced with garnished wages to pay his child support," the ad says.

"He is and was a wonderful father," said Walsh Jr. "Please pull these TV ads. It's just not right to do what you're doing."

"This is probably the last place right now I want to be standing," said Rep. Joe Walsh, (R) northwest suburbs. "And it's the last thing in the world I wanted my 25 year old son to do with me."

As a legal matter, Congressman Walsh says the child support issue was settled last April, after his ex-wife sued him for over $117,000.

"My wife and I resolved our issues. And she agreed that I was not and never was a deadbeat dad and that I do not owe child support," Rep. Walsh said.

"We understand that politics is a rough business, but these ads are wrong and hurtful to us," said Walsh Jr.

"The only person that hurt Mr. Walsh's children was Mr. Walsh when he failed to pay his child support," said Tammy Duckworth, (D) candidate for Congress.

Tuesday, Duckworth defended the ad.

"I'm not going to let him bully any more people," Duckworth said. "And if he wants to have a conversation about character, then that's what we're having right now."

The ad comes on the heels of controversial comments from Walsh about abortion and is seen as appealing to the all-important female vote in the 8th District.

Tuesday's father and son event could be an acknowledgment of that voting group's importance.

"It's a great visual to have your family standing there with you to say this is hurting us. And that will appeal to women as well," said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington.

"Politics can get negative. I get that. But this is beyond attacking him. This is now hurting the three of us kids," said Walsh Jr.

Joe Walsh Jr. said he was also speaking on behalf of his 21-year-old sister and 18-year-old brother, who is a senior in high school. Also at Tuesday's event was walsh's current wife.

Expect the ad to continue running all the way until Election Day.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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