Sabato's Crystal Ball

Illinois (08) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Likely D

Democratic candidate: Melissa Bean, incumbent

Republican candidate: Joe Walsh, investment banker

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Background:

Melissa Bean has been serving the 8th district of Illinois since her 2004 electoral victory over the incumbent Republican Phil Crane. Crane had been in Congress since 1969 (though he had only represented the 8th since 1993 due to redistricting). The 2004 campaign was Bean’s second attempt to defeat Crane. She had shocked the Republican establishment by gaining 43% of the vote in 2002 despite her huge disadvantage in spending. Bean supports small business, a popular cause in Congressional elections across Illinois this campaign season, fiscal accountability and affordable health coverage.

Bean’s challenger Joe Walsh became the first member of Tea Party movement to win a Congressional primary with his victory in the Republican Primary on February 2. Walsh has made the news recently as a victim of foreclosure. Walsh mentions this in a bizarre, near-incoherent post on his campaign website. Don’t worry though; somehow this makes him even more qualified for Congress. Walsh’s campaign platform is built upon the 28 Principles of the United States, which range from a government steeped in Natural Law to the destructive burden of debt.

Bean has a dramatic advantage in campaign receipts, taking in around 10 times as much in campaign contributions as Walsh did during the most recent campaign finance quarter. Though Bush was victorious in both 2000 and 2004, Obama was able to earn 56% of the 8th district’s vote (to McCain’s 43%) during the 2008 Presidential elections. Bean’s lead in fundraising and the Democratic vote in the 2008 Presidential election have helped establish the 8th district as Likely Democratic.