Jesse Jackson Jr. fights for political life

February 14, 2012 4:43:12 PM PST
The 2nd Congressional District battle between incumbent Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. and challenger Debbie Halvorson is shaping up to be one of the most heated races in the upcoming March 20th primary.

The district, which has been remapped, includes the city's far Southeast Side and the south suburbs.

Congressman Jackson admits he is concerned about the impact outside super PAC money might have on his re-election effort.

"So we will put up the best fight we possibly can against great financial odds," said Jackson.

Jackson says his opponent -- former 11th District congresswoman Debbie Halvorson -- is benefitting from anti-Jackson robo-calls and mailed materials paid for by a conservative Texas-based super PAC.

"They're not trying to help me. They're trying to get rid of him," said Halvorson.

Jackson, who won with over 80 percent of the 2nd District vote in 2010, remains under investigation by the Congressional Ethics Committee. The probe includes determining the eight-term incumbent's role in former governor Rod Blagojevich's attempted sale of a U.S. Senate seat.

"He was just a witness, so I'm not holding that against him," said Glen Williams, 2nd District voter.

"He's a little bit arrogrant for me. But to each his own," said Wanda Peaks, 2nd District voter.

At her news conference Tuesday, Halvorson brought up Jackson's alleged misuse of a campaign donor to fly a former mistress to and from Chicago.

"This is always his defiance with regards to ethics," she said.

"We measure champions not by how quickly they get knocked down but by how quickly they get up. And so, this too shall pass," Jackson said.

Halvorson, meanwhile, has launched new attacks on Jackson's long-running effort to build an airport in far south Peotone. She noted the Canadian developer SNC Lavalin is under investigation for trying to smuggle one of Moammar Gaddafi's sons to Mexico.

"We shouldn't stoop to doing business with companies who engage in such activities against America," said Halvorson.

Jackson said the airport developer had fired the employees involved in the Libyan incident and remained solvent and in good standing in Canada.

"Not only do they independently have the financing to finish this project, but they are also backed by their government," he said.

At last report, both Jackson and Halvorson had roughly the same amount of money to spend on their campaigns. But the super PAC money spent so far against the incumbent would weigh in favor of Halvorson.


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