Tonight, we’ll have Democrat Tammy Duckworth on the show. She’s running for Congress in Illinois’ remapped 8th district, in a key race that Democrats have targeted in their longshot bid to retake the House.
Here are five key things to know about Duckworth:
1. She’s an Iraq War vet.
Duckworth is an Iraq War vet and former Black Hawk helicopter pilot who lost her legs and partial use of her right arm when her aircraft was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in 2004.
2. She’s up against Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh.
The 44-year-old Duckworth, who was previously the assistant secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Department of Veterans Affairs, is up against Tea Party favorite Rep. Joe Walsh. Walsh, who won election in 2010, has come under fire for discussing her military record too much and suggesting she isn’t a “true hero.”
3. She’s winning.
The race represents one of the Democrats’ best pickup opportunities in the House this election season. According to a recent poll by the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV, Duckworth is leading Walsh 50% to 40%. While 9% of voters are still undecided, 40% of those surveyed said Walsh’s membership in the Tea Party made them less likely to vote him into office again. Just 12% found his Tea Party roots a good thing. Also of note: This isn’t the first time Duckworth has run for Congress. In 2006, she ran for the House seat in Illinois’ 6th district, and lost to Peter Roskam by 2%.
4. Abortion is a major campaign issue.
Abortion has become a key issue on the trail after Walsh, after explaining his opposition to abortion, said it was never medically necessary for a woman to undergo the procedure to save her life. He later backtracked, saying there were “very rare circumstances.” Duckworth has since made abortion a major part of her campaign. She’s been campaigning with outspoken Democratic California Rep. Jackie Speier, who said she had two medically necessary life-saving abortions two decades ago.
5. She’s no fan of Mitt Romney.
Duckworth came out swinging at Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for not mentioning the war in Afghanistan during his RNC address. Unlike Romney, she argued, “Barack Obama will never ignore our troops.” She’s also praised Obama’s record on women in the military, including allowing women to serve in more combat roles and ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Tune into Hardball at 5pm to catch the interview with Duckworth.