CHICAGO - Tuesday, both the Democrats and the Republicans will pick nominees for the April General to replace former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. Jackson. Last week, Jackson together with his wife, former Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson, pled guilty before a federal Washington DC courthouse, facing time in prison for misspending campaign funds and filing misleading tax returns. The Second Congressional District's Democrat primary has become contentious in the last few weeks, and after the dropping of two state senators from the race, the leading contenders of the remaining 15 Democrats appear to be former State Rep Robin Kelly, Alderman Anthony Beale and former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson.
Kelly is backed by SEIU and AFSCME union leaders, MoveOn.org, as well as Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who's invested over $2 million into ads attacking Kelly's top opponents, specifically on the issue of gun control. Halvorson, has the backing of the National Rifle Association, and is gaining support of black pastors who resent an outside like Mayor Bloomberg interfering in the community's decision. Alderman Beale is gathering up votes of those who aren't pleased with either Kelly or Halvorson.
Second District insiders in the black community suggest the resentment against Bloomberg and the division among all the other black candidates may allow Halvorson, as the only white candidate, to emerge the winner. Halvorson fought a tough primary battle against Jackson in 2012, and her name recognition from that race is helping her for the special primary.
On the Republican side there are five candidates, but as the Tribune pointed out in their endorsement editorial on the race, four are reported to have tax problems and one served time in prison for armed robbery. The only candidate that wasn't listed as having tax issues or criminal records is Flossmoor resident Dr. Eric Wallace, who has been able to raised a little over $4000 for his bid. Lenny McAllister, Paul McKinley, Beverly Reid and James Taylor, Sr. have not raised enough to file with the FEC.
The 2nd CD is 55 miles from the norhern Chicago border to its most southern border. The makeup of the voting population is 52 percent black and 36 percent white.
Despite the district's remapping and the 180,000 blacks that have moved out of Chicago communities over the past decade, the new 2nd CD voters chose out-of -circulation Jesse Jackson Jr with 75 percent vote in 2012.
Over the years, even in the most Republican favoring years, the 2nd CD always picks Democrats in presidential races. They chose Mondale over Reagan in 1984 and Dukakis over Bush in 1988. Despite disgrace ending the three previous Democrat Congressmen's careers, the 2013 Special Primary Tuesday is the election that will choose who succeeds Jesse Jackson Jr.