In February primary, 22 will jockey for Jackson's seat

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January 9, 2013


By Maresa Strano

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois: Two weeks after voters from Illinois' 2nd Congressional District re-elected Democrat Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. to a ninth term, the veteran lawmaker resigned his seat in the U.S. House. Jackson cited his battle with depression and bipolar disorder (for which he sought treatment in June prior to the election) as explanation for his abrupt departure, meanwhile an ongoing investigation into his alleged misuse of campaign funds also factored strongly into the decision.[1] Jackson's resignation created a vacancy in the House that will be filled in a special election on April 19, 2013, following a primary on February 26, 2013.

On December 15, 2012, Cook County Democratic officials failed to give any candidate a majority of the votes in their slating session. Thus, none of the 17 Democratic candidates who filed their nominating petitions with the Illinois Board of Elections before the January 7th deadline will be receiving the backing of the party in the primary as far as campaign donations and volunteers. Missing from the list of 17 Democrats who filed for the election on Monday (5 Republican candidates filed for their party's primary, so 22 candidates in all) is State Senator Donne Trotter. Trotter once appeared to be a frontrunner, but his unfortunately timed arrest for trying to bring a gun into O'Hare International Airport last month likely cost him the Democratic party's support.[2][3]

Candidates who did file to replace Jackson include state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D), Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale (D), former Democratic U.S. Reps Mel Reynolds and Debbie Halvorson, who ran for the seat last year and lost to Jackson in the primary.[3]

Back in November, local news revealed that Jackson had entered into a plea deal that involved giving up his Congressional seat and a possible prison stint. Jackson had not been seen much in the public since he had checked into the Mayo Clinic to treat his mental illness', and his absence caused a stirring during the November election, during which he remained conspicuously low profile, making no public appearances and doing little to campaign for his nonetheless successful re-election.[4]

The 2nd Congressional District of Illinois is based in Cook and Will counties. It covers 184.64 square miles, making it one of the smallest districts in the United States and the seventh smallest in Illinois. The district, which includes the south suburbs of Chicago, extending slightly into Will County, and the city's far southeast side has a Partisan Voter Index of D+27, which is the 26th most Democratic district in the country.[5]

For a complete list of candidates who filed for the February 26th special primary election, visit the Illinois' 2nd Congressional District special election, 2013 page.

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