Early Hultgren and Walsh debate focusing on style, experience

October 10, 2011

The early rhetoric tossed around in the Republican primary for Illinois' 14th congressional district is focusing on style and experience. The district includes much of Chicago's western and northern ex-urbs, pairing two GOP incumbents.

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh has not been shy about criticizing his likely opponent, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, suggesting he's not a fighter for conservative causes. Hultgren is holding back, while still trying to differentiate himself from Walsh, a cable TV regular.

"I have been much less focused on national media," Hultgren said in an interview last week. "I am focused on the 14th congressional district."

Hultgren has been criticized by Walsh for being "in politics too long," a reference to Hultgren's decade in the Illinois legislature. But he threw that back at Walsh.

"When you look, he's been running for Congress since 1996, and the first time that he's gotten elected just this last year," Hultgren said.

Walsh did run for Congress in 1996, but didn't seek the office again until 2010.

Both Republicans say they hope a judge orders changes to the district boundaries, so the primary can be avoided.