Tammy Duckworth Resigns At VA, Illinois Congressional Run Could Be In The Cards

A former congressional candidate and wounded Iraq war veteran resigned a prominent post at the Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday, leading to speculation that she will again run for Congress.

But Tammy Duckworth won't have a cakewalk to the nomination in Illinois's Eighth District, as an established statewide candidate has already earned a handful of endorsements from prominent local Democrats.

In 2006, Duckworth ran against Republican Peter Roskam. Her campaign earned national attention, in large part because of her story: an officer in the Illinois National Guard, she became a helicopter pilot, and lost both legs and the partial use of an arm when her Blackhawk was shot down in Iraq in 2004.

Roskam narrowly beat her in that race, by a 51-49 margin. If Duckworth were to run again this time around, it would be in a district that was drawn without an incumbent representative in this year's redistricting, a process that Illinois Democrats controlled and steered toward their heavy favor.

The district appears to favor Democrats: Obama won it with around 61 percent of the vote, and it looks to be around D+7 on the Cook partisan voter index, indicating a significant blue lean.

The Thailand-born Duckworth isn't alone in her interest in getting her hands on this newly lucrative district for Democrats, though. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a former advisor to Barack Obama and a narrowly failed candidate for state comptroller, has already announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination.

And he has a sizable list of endorsements, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, five of the six Cook County Democratic committeemen and the Democratic leaders in DuPage and Kane Counties.

He also won over the voters in the new Eighth District during his run for comptroller, earning 62 percent among voters in the district despite losing statewide by a 47-46 margin, the Capitol Fax blog reports.

There had been some speculation that Duckworth, who attended high school and college in Hawaii, might run for that state's U.S. Senate seat, soon to be vacated by Sen. Daniel Akaka. She put that speculation to bed two weeks ago, saying, "My home and my National Guard unit are in Illinois. And if I run for office again, it'll be there." Her resignation from her post as an assistant secretary at the VA makes that seem quite likely at this point.

The prospective Democratic primary battle in IL-8 will pit the two formidable Asian-American candidates against one another, making it likely that the district -- of which one in every eight residents is Asian-American -- will be represented by a member of that group.