"This is about the character and values of the person who wants to represent district in the next years. I would do it with honesty and integrity," said Republican Isaac Hayes, who is running against Jackson.
Hayes' campaign slogans are "honesty" and "integrity." The 36-year-old is a youth minister. The Green Party candidate in the 2nd district is also a minister. The Rev. Anthony Williams said he is running because he believes Jackson has not done enough for the 2d district, which includes parts of the South Side and several south suburbs.
"Out of the 19 districts in Illinois, we rank in the higher percentile of unemployment, crime, poverty and foreclosures. This has been the abysmal record of the current congressman," said Williams.
Williams and Hayes had hoped to debate Jackson on the issues, but the congressman has chosen to do very little campaigning and no interviews with the media. Instead, Jackson's spokesperson released a written statement, "the voters have consistently recognized his service, but as always he is taking nothing for granted. He will continue to make his case to the people of Chicago and the south suburbs."
Political consultant Delmarie Cobb says because polls show Jackson is far ahead, the stealth strategy of campaigning works for now. But Cobb says it may not in the future.
"If his strategy is to continue the way it is, to stay under the radar, then he is very much going to be vulnerable," said Cobb.
Cobb says while Jackson's poll numbers remain relatively high, he is likely to lose votes from African American women who are upset about his relationship with a woman from Washington, D.C. The congressman and his wife have called the affair a private matter.
Jackson's spokesperson says he has brought in more than $800 million in resources to the second district.