House race puts Illinois candidate's job in jeopardy

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March 21, 2013

Illinois

By Maresa Strano

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois: An Independent candidate running to replace resigned Democratic U.S. Representative from Illinois Jesse Jackson, Jr. has learned that he is danger of losing his job as a result of his special election bid. Marcus Lewis is a Postal Service employee and is thus included under the Hatch Act, which forbids federal employees from running for a partisan office. Lewis could end his campaign to put a stop to any legal action being taken against him, but he has refused.[1]

Lewis has argued that the Hatch Act refers only to candidates of a political party, not independents. Additionally, he has stated that he hopes the controversy over his candidacy might get him more votes. He said, " I’m running as ‘Mr. Lewis goes to Washington,’ just like Mr. Smith went to Washington, and this shows that the people in power don’t want ordinary citizens running for office. I figure people will identify with that and vote for me."[1]

Lewis also sought the 2nd District seat in last November's general election. He lost to Jackson, the incumbent, but made an impressive showing for an independent candidate, garnering 13.5% of the vote in an election with a fairly low turnout.[2][3]

The general election to fill the vacancy left by Jackson's resignation will take place on April 9, 2013.[4]

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