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Birthdate: Dec. 27, 1961
Birth Place: North Barrington, IL, United States
Residence: McHenry, IL
First Elected: 2010
Joe Walsh was born in Evanston, Ill., grew up in North Barrington and now resides in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka. He earned a bachelor's from the University of Iowa and a master's from the University of Chicago.
Walsh works with an equity firm that raises money for small businesses.
He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1996, losing to longtime Rep. Sidney Yates. He also lost a 1998 bid for the Illinois House.
Walsh and his wife have five children.
First-term Rep. Joe Walsh quickly generated headlines as one of President Barack Obama's most vocal critics.
In a 2011 video he released online, the tea party darling accused the president of lying to the American people when it came to government spending.
"President Obama, quit lying," he says in a video ad. "Have you no shame sir? In three short years, you've bankrupted this country and destroyed job creation. You're either in over your head, you don't understand what makes this country great, or you're hell bent on turning us into some European big government wasteland. You've spent money like a drunken sailor for three years."
Walsh continued to hold the tea party movement's trademark town hall meetings throughout his term. However, shortly after taking office, issues with his personal finances threatened to overshadow his message.
In late 2010, Walsh's ex-wife sued him saying he owed more than $100,000 in back child support. Two years later, shortly after he went unchallenged in the 2012 Illinois Republican primary, a judge dismissed the case. Walsh said he and his wife had worked out the issue privately.
"Believe me, not a day has gone by when I haven't wanted to scream the truth and tell my side of the story," he told reporters at a news conference in downtown Chicago. "I kept my mouth quiet for my family ... My kids have been my life and remain my life. Period."
In the November 2012 general election, Walsh faces Democrat and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth in a dramatically different district. After Democrats drew a new congressional map, Walsh decided to run in the 8th District instead of against an incumbent. The new 8th District, which includes parts of three northern Illinois counties, is one of the most diverse on the new map. The match-up is one of the most closely watched congressional races in the country.
Walsh is not new to politics. It was his third bid for public office when he narrowly unseated incumbent U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean in 2010.
On the campaign trail that year, he courted conservative tea party activists, which forced him to explain his shifting positions on the contentious issues of abortion and assault weapons.
Walsh told the Daily Herald that a spiritual journey led him to oppose abortion and that he pivoted his stance on gun control _ he once supported banning assault weapons _ after learning more about the issue.
He also has had to explain the foreclosure on a condominium he used to own in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, again telling the Daily Herald he had financially "overextended" himself.
Walsh has criticized the 2010 health care reform bill, saying on his campaign website that the legislation was "rammed" through Congress and would inevitably lead to higher taxes and lower quality care.
Walsh opposes gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.
Source: Associated Press
113th Congress on Twitter
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