Tea Party favorite Joe Walsh is the winner of the surprisingly close House race in Illinois' 8th Congressional District. Prior to the election, few national prognosticators -- including yours truly
-- gave Walsh much of a shot at picking off incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean. Of the four competitive districts in the state, Bean's seat was widely viewed as the least vulnerable, in part due to Walsh's sometimes dysfunctional campaign
. But this was a bad year to be a phony moderate Democrat in a Republican district; waves are unpredictable phenomena, and Bean was swept away
Republicans get to add another red seat to Congress.
Following the completion of ballot counting, Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean on Tuesday night called her Republican challenger, Joe Walsh, and conceded the race for Illinois' 8th Congressional District.
Roughly 300 votes separated the two candidates.
"This is a huge win for all the grassroot organizations that supported Walsh," the Palatine Tea Party said in a release. "Against all odds we defeated incumbent Melissa Bean (D) who had significantly more money and media support. This will be the upset of 2010."
Bean will make an official statement later today. The rumor among some Illinois politicos is that she may soon accept a position in the Obama Administration. This result caps off a spectacular cycle for the Illinois GOP -- at least at the federal level. Republicans picked up Barack Obama's old Senate seat and four