One week after election day there is still no decision in the US House race to represent Illinois' 8th District.
Republican candidate, Joe Walsh, a Tea Party favorite, maintains a slim lead over three-term Demcoratic Congresswoman Melissa Bean with 347 votes. The winner won't be known until next Tuesday, November 16, when election officials count the remaining absentee and provisional ballots.
Regardless, Joe Walsh, an attorney from Barrington, Illinois, says the voters in the 8th District have spoken. Walsh says his focus now is preparing to travel to Washington, DC next week to participate in freshman orientation for new members of the US House. Walsh declared himself victorious in the early morning hours on November 3rd, but Melissa Bean refuses to back down, releasing the following statement earlier today through her campaign spokesperson:
"Every single day that ballots have been counted following Election Day, the margin of votes separating Congresswoman Melissa Bean and Mr. Walsh has continued to shrink. Now, more than ever, this race remains too close to call. While we wait for additional ballots to be counted, we remain encouraged by the favorable results we've seen in suburban Cook County. In fact, nearly 70 percent of the absentee ballots counted since Election Day in Cook County were cast in support of Congresswoman Bean, which suggests that similar absentee numbers will be reported in Lake and McHenry between now and November 16th."
While Melissa Bean continues to carry Cook County, Republican Joe Walsh, won the majority of votes in Lake and McHenry counties on November 2. Walsh tells Fox News he is not concerned about how many votes separate him from Bean, adding, "we knew we'd be competitive. We knew all along the race would be close." From the very beginning of his campaign Walsh was considered the underdog in the race. He did not have any support from the National Republican Party and his credibility was questioned after reports about his personal finances revealed Walsh foreclosed on his home in 2008. Adding to that, Melissa Bean's campaign raised four times more money than Walsh. Knowing full well what he was up against, Walsh says, "We did as best as we could and the Illinois Republican campaign put out a pretty aggressive G-O-T-V effort...where they pushed as much as possible...absentee and early voting. Look, if we surprised my national party...and we did...we surprised a lot of people outside this district."
As of today, a total of 623 absentee ballots in two of the 8th District's three counties have yet to be counted. That will happen next Tuesday. Toss in dozens more provisional ballots to be counted from each county and this race may get even closer. Stay tuned.