The Hill’s 50 races to watch


Illinois 8th District

Tammy Duckworth (D) vs Joe Walsh

Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R), one of the most surprising victors of 2010 and an outspoken supporter of the Tea Party, is also one of the incumbents most likely to lose his reelection bid.

Democrats who controlled redistricting in Illinois drastically redrew his district, turning it from one where Obama won 56 percent of the vote in 2008 to one where he would have won 62 percent, and recruited as their candidate Tammy Duckworth (D), an Iraq War veteran with close ties to Obama, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (D-Ill.). She has raised boatloads of money and carved out a centrist profile in the district.

Walsh has hurt himself by spending months embroiled in a nasty fight with an ex-wife over unpaid child support and pooh-poohing his opponent’s service in Iraq (she lost both of her legs when her helicopter was shot down in 2003). Republicans have recently started spending on his behalf in the expensive suburban Chicago district, but Duckworth is favored to win this race.

The Hill rates this race likely Democratic.