Helene Miller Walsh, the wife of Republican primary presidential candidate and conservative talk show host Joe Walsh, is a former state lawmaker who was appointed to fill a seat vacated by scandal.
Helene is Walsh’s second wife. He was also married to Laura Walsh, with whom he has three children and once settled a child support dispute (they released a statement that said Laura agreed Joe was not a “deadbeat dad.”) Joe Walsh, a former U.S. Representative, announced on August 25, 2019 that he was challenging President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primary.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Walsh Was Selected by Republican Officials Impressed by Her Tenaciousness for the State House Seat
Helene Walsh assumed the Illinois state House seat (state House 51st District seat) of Nick Sauer, who resigned after accusations claimed he sent his ex-girlfriend’s nude photos to other men on the Internet.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Helene Walsh was chosen for the position by “local Republican officials.” That was in 2018. In August of that year, Joe Walsh posted pictures of his wife at her swearing in, writing, “My wife, Helene Walsh, was sworn in today as the new IL State Rep. for House District #51. I’m so darn proud of her. She’ll be a strong, independent voice for Conservative values. She’ll be a true citizen legislator. She’ll make her district proud. Way to go Leenie. Love you!”
Lake County Republican Party Chairman Mark Shaw told The Chicago Tribune at the time that he voted for Helene Walsh because she was “tenacious” and would be able to mount a campaign quickly to retain the seat. You can see the district map for the seat here.
2. Walsh Subsequently Lost the Seat to a Local Teacher
Mary Edly-Allen eventually defeated Helene Walsh in an election for the seat a few months later. Edly-Allen, a teacher, is a Democrat. The election was exceptionally close. Preliminary results had Edly-Allen up by a single vote, 25,106 to 25,105, according to the Daily Herald.
Provisional and late ballots then extended Edly-Allen’s lead to 25,949 to 25,576, the newspaper reported.
Perhaps ironically now, since Joe Walsh is running against Trump, Edly-Allen brought the president into her victory, saying, according to Daily Herald, “Across the county, state and country, this election demonstrated not only that every vote counts, but most importantly, that the divisive rhetoric advanced by extreme politicians like Donald Trump will not go unchallenged.”
3. Helene Walsh Has Been Described as a Staunch Advocate for Israel Who Studied Middle Eastern Affairs & Is From a Family of Jewish Immigrants
In 2017, the Haym Salomon Center announced that Helene Miller-Walsh would join the group’s Board of Directors.
Chairman and President Paul Miller said Helene wanted to help defend “western civilization.”
“I am honored to announce that Helene has enthusiastically accepted the position and is already bringing wonderful ideas to the table, expanding even further the Salomon Center’s work on defending Western civilization,” said Miller in a press release. “I have known Helene for over a decade. She is a person of the highest integrity and character. You will find no greater advocate for freedom, America and Israel than Helene.”
That site explains that the Haym Salomon Center had grown from a “two-person startup to a team of reporters and Fellows producing news and opinion content from a pro-Western, pro-democracy viewpoint for publication in the mainstream and new media outlets.” Their work challenges “anti-Semtism, Islamic terrorism” and defends “Western values,” the site says.
According to her legislative bio, Helene Walsh “is a graduate of Occidental College with a B.A. in Diplomacy and World Affairs with an emphasis on Middle Eastern Affairs and a minor in Economics.”
On Facebook, Walsh shared some of her family’s background in an ode honoring her late uncle.
“We laid my Uncle Morton Miller to rest today down here in Boca Raton, FL. My Father’s oldest brother, he was 93 years old and the last of his generation from the Miller clan,” she wrote. “His life epitomized the story of so many Jewish-American immigrants. Uncle Morton never met his father(my grandfather) until he was 7 years of age and had landed in NY coming from Butka, Poland on a harrowing boat voyage across the seas and then through Ellis Island to America…. the land where ‘the streets were paved in gold and opportunities were for those willing to go after them.'”
She added: “Life was not easy for the Miller clan but they worked hard, saved their money, spent judiciously, invested wisely, remained religious, were fiercely protective of their family and forever strongly identified as Jewish (even if they were not terribly religious). The Millers prospered here in America as my father became a doctor having attended a prestigious east coast college and no one ever wanted for food or a roof over their head.”
Helene gets political on her Facebook page. “Israel must forever remain vigilant!!!” she wrote with one post. She also has shared and written posts critical of Trump. “And while we Americans argue about nasty Presidential tweets and how a federal prisoner died in a federal prison and gun rights and illegal immigrants on our borders… the deficit continues to grow and grow and GROW,” she wrote.
And in another post: “128 people shot in Chicago this past weekend. Would LOVE to see some Liberal Hollywood outrage. Black lives DO matter.” She teed off on Trump when he criticized television personality Donny Deutsch in a tweet, writing, “One would think that the President of these United States would have better things to do than worry about who is on tv. I don’t always (rarely) agree with Donny Deutsch but this is beneath the POTUS…. in my opinion. #GETALIFE (you have a job to do Mr President ??????).”
Joe Walsh has a history of controversies. In 2016, according to CNN, he accused President Barack Obama of “hating Israel and pushed the false conspiracy theory that Obama is Muslim.” He also once said that Obama won because he was “a black man who was articulate,” CNN reported.
4. Helene Walsh Runs a Multimedia Production Company
Walsh has a background in multimedia. According to the Haym Salomon Center biography, Miller-Walsh is the Chief Operating Officer of Leenie Productions, LLC, a multi-media production company.
She has been involved in other charity activities.
“She is on the Board of Advisors of Project HOOD, an organization dedicated to ending gang violence in the city of Chicago and developing career opportunities,” the release says. “With a long track record of success in philanthropic endeavors, Miller-Walsh has chaired campaigns for Prentice Women’s Hospital through her role on the board of Friends of Prentice, as well as co-chairing one of the most successful private school annual campaigns in history at The Latin School of Chicago.”
5. Walsh Once Started a Line of Gift Books & Worked for a Fur Company
According to the Haym Salomon Center, Helene Wash started out in banking at American National Bank in Commercial Lending in Chicago.
“She then spent several years at Evans Fur Company, in a variety of roles across Marketing, Design and Sales,” the bio explains.
Helene “went on to found Whim Wham Books, where she served as CEO, creating and selling a line of gift books which she sold around the world to major national retailers and small retail shops,” the site says. The couple has five children between them.