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SuperPAC pulls back $2.5 million it had earmarked for Joe Walsh

Congressman Joe Walsh held brief news conference where he discussed dismissal his child support issues Chicago April 19 2012.

Congressman Joe Walsh held a brief news conference where he discussed the dismissal of his child support issues, in Chicago on April 19, 2012. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: November 28, 2012 6:14AM

The conservative SuperPAC that had already plowed $2 million into Tea Party Republican Rep. Joe Walsh’s race and had threatened to put in an additional $2.5 million to “bury” Tammy Duckworth, is now putting its money elsewhere.

But the group insists it isn’t “running from a fight.”

The decision comes a week after Walsh, already a flame thrower, made national headlines by declaring that abortion was never necessary to save the life of a mother. In an atypical move, he held a news conference the next day to clarify his remarks.

On Friday, a Tribune/WGN poll showed Duckworth ahead by 10 points in the north and northwest suburban 8th Congressional District. Walsh’s campaign said that poll has been inconsistent with numbers it has seen all along.

A spokesman with the Now or Never SuperPAC told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday that the group is investing its money in races elsewhere and doesn’t believe Walsh needs it.

“By all measures, we have been successful in IL-8. We have helped turn this race around and now believe Congressman Walsh is on a winning trajectory,” said Tyler Harber, Now or Never spokesman. “If we were less confident, you would see us continue investing in IL-8. We’re not running from a fight.”

The Duckworth campaign said Friday that another conservative SuperPAC, FreedomWorks for America, was putting $1.5 million behind Walsh but there was no official filing on that as of Friday night.

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that the Now or Never SuperPAC planned to spend an additional $2.5 million on Walsh to “bury” Duckworth in negative campaign ads. Duckworth subsequently worked to turn that around, using the headline in ads.

Duckworth has gone after Walsh on abortion in attack ads. They are competing in one of the highest-profile U.S. House races in the country. Duckworth has criticized Walsh for the millions of dollars spent on his behalf in outside money. Walsh, too, has been the subject of attacks from outside groups supporting Duckworth.

“The Now or Never PAC has analyzed the IL-8 race, weighing the candidate’s individual campaigns, activities of outside groups and the trajectory of the race itself,” Harber said. “We have concluded that Walsh is on his way to a win over Tammy Duckworth.” He said the SuperPACs resources will be turned to U.S. Senate races in Arizona, Ohio, Montana and North Dakota races. “This does not mean that we are leaving Walsh completely,” Harber said. “Our initial investment of nearly $2 million dollars continues to influence voters daily. In fact, one of our most recent pieces of mail in the race was received as recent as this week.”

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