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Democrat wins easily in Illinois special election

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April 9, 2013

South Carolina

By Jennifer Springer

Chicago, Illinois: Candidate Robin Kelly (D) easily defeated lesser-known Republican opponent Paul McKinley and a handful of third-party candidates yesterday to win the open seat in Illinois' 2nd congressional district.[1] With slightly less than 100% of votes counted, Kelly was leading with 70.8% of the vote, Kinley taking in only 22.1% of the vote, and the remaining Green Party and Independent candidates trailing with single-digit percentages.[2]

The district, whose previous representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. resigned in November 2012 amid health concerns and subsequent fraud and conspiracy charges, has been without a voice in the U.S. House for the better part of the last year.[3][4] Jackson pled guilty to misuse of campaign funds in January and is expected to be sentenced in June 2013.[5]

Kelly had been widely expected to win in the Democrat-leaning district, which includes the South Side of Chicago and its suburbs.[3] She is expected to be sworn in by the end of the week.[3] According to many, Kelly’s fate was essentially sealed when she won the February 26 Democratic primary.[6]

Kelly emerged from a crowded field of Democratic candidates in the February primary by focusing heavily on anti-gun efforts and was helped by ads and funding from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's super PAC.[6][3] Going into the primary, Kelly vowed to become a leader in the federal fight for gun control legislation and echoed the same sentiment after winning the nomination.[7]

She previously represented the 38th district in the Illinois General Assembly before becoming the first African American chief of staff to a constitutional officer in state history when she joined the office of then-Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) in 2007.[6] She unsuccessfully ran for state treasurer in 2010.[6]

U.S. House, Illinois District 2 Special Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRobin Kelly 70.7% 58,834
     Republican Paul McKinley 22.1% 18,387
     Independent Elizabeth Pahlke 3% 2,525
     Green LeAlan M. Jones 1.8% 1,531
     Independent Marcus Lewis 1.6% 1,359
     Independent Curtis Llong Bey 0.7% 548
     Write-in Steve Piekarczyk 0% 9
Total Votes 83,193
Source: Results via Illinois State Board of Elections

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