The same day the Club for Growth expressed support for freshman Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., to run in Illinois' new 14th District, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Walsh's ex-wife is suing him for over $100,000 in child support, a development a Club spokesman says the group was not aware of beforehand.
"We were unaware that this was an issue," Club spokesman Barney Keller told Hotline On Call Thursday.
The sequence of events represents something of an embarrassment for the influential fiscally conservative group, which has irked the Republican establishment for occasionally taking on moderate Republican members of Congress in primaries. They've also drawn fire for helping nominate very conservative Republican candidates, like Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle and ex-Idaho Rep. Bill Sali, who end up being unelectable in a general election.
Walsh, a freshman who enjoyed strong Tea Party support en route to a very narrow victory against now-former Rep. Melissa Bean in Illinois' 8th District in 2010, has a couple of options: run in the 8th District -- which, under a redistricting plan signed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn stands to become more Democratic -- or run in the 14th District, where he faces the prospect of facing fellow freshman Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren.
The Club for Growth, on Wednesday, urged him to run in the district currently held by another Republican.
"If the district lines in Illinois as passed by the Democrats end up being upheld, then Club for Growth PAC will enthusiastically support Congressman Walsh for re-election in the 14th Congressional District," Club President Chris Chocola said in a release Wednesday.