Illinois' 2nd Congressional District special election, 2013

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The 2nd congressional district of Illinois will hold a special election for the U.S. House of Representatives on April 9, 2013. The primary took place on February 26. The election date was initially set for March 19 but Governor Pat Quinn got unanimous approval from state lawmakers for legislation that would allow the election to coincide with the municipal elections on April 9.[1][2]

The filing deadline was on January 7, 2013.

The election is being held to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D).[3]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
January 7, 2013
February 26, 2013
April 9, 2013


General Election Candidates

Democratic Party Robin Kelly[4]
Republican Party Republican nominee pending results of February 26th primary
Green Party LeAlan M. Jones
Independent Curtis Llong Bey
Independent Marcus Lewis
Independent Elizabeth Pahlke

Democratic Party Democratic primary

Republican Party Republican primary

Rumored but did not file

Democratic Party Sam Adam, Jr., Chicago attorney.
Democratic Party Donne Trotter, state senator
Democratic Party Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President[8]
Democratic Party Jonathan Jackson, Jesse Jackson Jr.'s brother

Withdrew before primary

Democratic Party Napoleon Harris, state senator-elect, withdrew January 30, 2013 and endorsed Robin Kelly[9]
Democratic Party Toi Hutchinson, state senator, withdrew February 17, 2013 and endorsed Robin Kelly[10]
Democratic Party O. Patrick Brutus, withdrew February 18, 2013 and endorsed Robin Kelly[11]

Election Results

Primary Elections

Vote totals will be added once they are certified.

Democratic Primary

U.S. House, Illinois District 2 Special Democratic Primary, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRobin Kelly 53.3% 31,079
Debbie Halvorson 25.1% 14,650
Anthony Beale 11.1% 6,457
Joyce Washington 4.4% 2,563
Ernest Fenton 2.6% 1,545
Anthony Williams 1.1% 641
Mel Reynolds 0.8% 459
Clifford Eagleton 0.4% 207
Fatimah Muhammad 0.3% 194
Gregory Haynes 0.2% 144
Larry Pickens 0.2% 127
John Blyth 0.2% 104
Victor Jonathan 0.2% 91
Charles Rayburn 0.1% 74
Denise Anita Hill 0% 4
Total Votes 58,339
Source: Results via Illinois State Board of Elections

Republican Primary

U.S. House, Illinois District 2 Special Republican Primary, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngPaul McKinley 29% 963
Eric Wallace 28.3% 939
Lenny McAllister 26.9% 894
Beverly Reid 15.8% 523
Total Votes 3,319
Source: Results via Illinois State Board of Elections

Race background

Jackson resigned on November 21, 2012, citing medical issues. Jackson had been away from work since June and seeking treatment for bipolar disorder and depression at Mayo Clinic. He also noted a federal investigation into his campaign spending.[12] Despite his prolonged absence, Jackson easily won re-election in the 2012 election.

On December 15, 2012, Cook County Democratic officials failed to give any candidate a majority of the votes in their slating session. Thus, no candidate will be receiving the backing of the Democratic party in the primary, in the form of campaign donations and volunteers. State Senator Donne Trotter appeared to be a frontrunner, but his recent arrest for taking a gun into O'Hare International Airport may have been the reason for his failure to receive the support of the Democratic Party.[13]

Robin Kelly won the ballot position lottery and will appear first on the Democratic primary ballot. The next three positions are as follows: Clifford Eagleton, Napoleon Harris, and Anthony Beale. Toi Hutchinson was slated to appear third, before Beale, but she dropped out of the race on Feb. 17.[10] In a separate lottery, Joyce Washington won the bottom spot on the ballot.[14]

Upon her withdrawal from the primary race, Hutchinson - who had previously been endorsed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle - declared her support for former Democratic opponent Robin Kelly.[15] Following Hutchinson's

In addition to Hutchinson, Kelly has been endorsed by current U.S. Representatives Bobby Rush, Danny Davis, Jan Schakowsky, and Mike Quigley. Rush has said, "Robin Kelly is a woman of integrity and conviction, and President Obama, Congressman Davis and I need her as our partner in ending gun violence. Davis has said "[Kelly is the right person] if we are going to stop the NRA in their tracks, and make our communities safe again."[16] Schakowsky said, "One of the reasons is the gun issue. She has the view that we need to do some sensible violence prevention legislation."[17] Quigley released a statement that said, "Robin has proven herself to be a dedicated public servant and is the right person to represent Chicago and the Southland."[18]

Turnout is expected to be low in the primaries. In the 2009 special election primary to replace Rahm Emanual in the 5th congressional district only saw a 17 percent turnout. The local ABC affiliate is reporting that candidates estimate that they could win the primary with as few as 12,000 to 15,000 votes. This is based on a turn out of 50,000. There are 250,000 registered voters in the district.[19]

Independence USA super PAC ads

Gun control has come to the forefront in the race with a tv ad tageting Debbie Halvorson and her prior voting record with respect to guns. The ad comes from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's super PAC, Independence USA.[20] Some in the field are upset by this external influence, including Clifford Eagleton (D). In a press release submitted to Ballotpedia he says, "“As a citizen and as a candidate I am outraged and alarmed after viewing the 'super PAC' attack ad last night against one of my opponents. This arrogant, brutish well-polished propaganda is meant to confuse and persuade our citizens with misinformation, thereby corrupting the election.” He went on to speak out against the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, stating that it needs to be overturned or legislation needs to be passed "to protect the integrity of elections and democracy in America."[21] David Axelrod took to Twitter to comment on Halvorson's lead in the polls and pro-gun stance, saying that it is "ironic, given carnage in 2d CD."[22]

As reported on February 13, 2013, the super PAC Independence USA has spent $1.3 million in the special election, which is twice the amount spent by the top candidates. This is the super PAC that was started and funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The entirety of this money has been used to target Debbie Halvorson (D) for her "A" rating with the National Rifle Association.[23]


Illinois' 3rd Congressional District, Democratic primary
Poll Debbie Halvorson Toi HutchinsonRobin KellyNapoleon HarrisMel ReynoldsAnthony BealeOtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Normington-Petts (January 8-10)
GBA Strategies (January 3-7)
AVERAGES 20.5% 14% 11.5% 8% 7.5% 7.5% 3.5% 27.5% +/-4.65 450
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

District History


The 2nd congressional district of Illinois held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. Incumbent Jesse Jackson Jr. won re-election in the district.[24]

U.S. House, Illinois District 2 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJesse Jackson Jr. Incumbent 63.3% 188,303
     Republican Brian Woodworth 23.2% 69,115
     Independent Marcus Lewis 13.5% 40,006
Total Votes 297,424
Source: Illinois Board of Elections "2012 General Election Official Vote Totals"


On November 2, 2010, Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Isaac C. Hayes (R) and Anthony W. Williams (G) in the general election.[25]

U.S. House of Representatives, Illinois' 2nd Congressional District, General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJesse L. Jackson, Jr. Incumbent 80.5% 150,666
     Republican Isaac C. Hayes 13.8% 25,883
     Green Anthony W. Williams 5.6% 10,564
Total Votes 187,113

See also

External links


  1. Chicago Sun-Times, " March 19 set for election to replace Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. — for now," November 26, 2012
  2. The Hill, "Illinois House votes for April special election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr." November 28, 2012
  3. Times Leader "Jockeying under way to replace Rep. Jackson Jr.," November 22, 2012
  4. "Illinois - Summary Vote Results," accessed February 26, 2013
  5. Chicago Tribune, "Candidates start filing for Jackson Jr.'s old seat in Congress," January 3, 2013
  6. Roll Call, "Illinois: Democratic Field Solidifies for 2nd District Special Election," December 3, 2012
  7. Chicago Tribune, "Convicted former Rep. Mel Reynolds wants Jackson seat in Congress," November 28, 2012
  8. NBC Chicago "Preckwinkle Running for 2nd Congressional? "Nonsense", December 4, 2012
  9. Roll Call "Illinois: Harris Drops Out, Backs Kelly in Special," January 30, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 Chicago Sun-Times Hutchinson folds House bid urging supporters to "work hard" for Robin Kelly, February 17, 2013
  11. "Patrick Brutus Drops Out, Endorses Robin Kelly: 2nd District Race," February 19, 2013
  12. Huffington Post, " Jesse Jackson Jr. Successor: Debbie Halvorson Announces, Cory Brooks Contemplates Run," November 26, 2012
  13. The Huffington Post, "Jesse Jackson Jr. Special Election: Candidates To Have Open Primary For Congressional Seat," December 15, 2012
  14. Chicago Tribune, "Kelly wins lottery for top spot on ballot to replace Jackson Jr.," January 8, 2013
  15. Roll Call "Illinois: Hutchinson Gets Cook County Board President’s Endorsement," January 28, 2013
  16. Chicago Tribune "U.S. Reps. Rush, Davis back Kelly for Jackson Jr. seat," February 10, 2013
  17. Roll Call "Illinois: Schakowsky to Endorse Robin Kelly in Special Election," February 13, 2013
  18. eNews Park Forest "Congressman Mike Quigley Endorses Robin Kelly for 2nd Congressional District Special Election," February 19, 2013
  19. WLS-TV "Low turnout expected for 2nd Congressional District special election," February 22, 2013
  20. Chicago Tribune "Halvorson gun views hit in TV ad from Bloomberg super PAC," January 30, 2013
  21. Clifford Eagleton press release received via email by Ballotpedia staff on February 4, 2013
  22. Legal Insurrection "'NRA ally' leads Dem primary battle for Jesse Jr seat, February 5, 2013
  23. Huffington Post "Bloomberg Super PAC Dominates Illinois Special Election," February 15, 2013
  24. Politico "2012 Election Map, Illinois"
  25. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"