Jackson seat special election set for March 19 -- but date may change

November 26, 2012 2:57:35 PM PST
Gov. Pat Quinn says the special election to replace former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has tentatively been set for March 19, but that could change.

On Monday Quinn announced a Feb. 26 primary election followed by the general election weeks later. However, Quinn says he's going to try to get approval for an April 9 general election, which is the same day as other municipal elections.

The Chicago Democrat says that'll save money.

Quinn needs approval from either a judge or lawmakers because the April 9 date is outside a 115-day window set by election law.

Quinn says he'll take the matter before lawmakers who meet this week.

Jackson resigned last week citing his health problems and acknowledging that he's under federal investigation, reportedly for misuse of campaign funds.

Debbie Halvorson's not giving up despite losing to Jesse Jackson Junior in the March primary, the former congresswoman is running in the special election to replace Jackson.

"I'm the one with the name recognition. I'm the one with the ground troops and with the potential to raise the most money," she said.

Halvorson is likely to be joined by several others, making it a very crowded field ,unless COOK County Democrats slate a candidate. Party leaders have indicated recommending one is the way to go.

"We need to narrow it down and have those frank conversations with people that this may not be your time," said State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D).

Raoul is willing to have those conversations. The South Side lawmaker is not running for the open seat. Raoul says to prevent splintering the African-American vote, it is important to narrow down the field.

"In this case, the 2nd Congressional District is a Federal Voting Rights Act protected for African Americans and traditionally been so," Raoul said.

The 2nd Congressional District remains protected even though it has been remapped to include parts of Kankakee and Will counties. Halvorson and Will County's Democratic Party chairman are against slating a candidate.

"My preference is to let candidates get petitions... let the stronger candidate emerge," said Scott Pyles, Will County Democratic Central Committee Chairman.

"It is about who can bring home the bacon and bring home the resources in a district that has been underserved for so long," said Halvorson.


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