Halvorson endorsed by pastor in 2nd District race

December 18, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Halvorson, a former U.S. representative, is challenging incumbent Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Trotter has supported Jackson throughout his 16 years in Washington, but the pastor says his support has dried up. He calls Jackson inaccessible, unresponsive and disrespectful toward African-American clergy.

Trotter says he believes Halvorson would fight for economic development and a south suburban trauma unit.

Despite that, Jackson is confident he will win the Democratic primary. Halvorson is from the south suburbs, but she needs some South Side support in her uphill congressional run against Jackson.

"I think it will take a stampede of African-American ministers to really make a huge difference in this race," said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington.

Halvorson has been endorsed by 20 other African-American pastors, hoping the support of the pastors will help cut into Jackson's base.

"Debbie has worked close with us over the years - she has a proven track record," said Trotter.

"I'm very humbled - this means so much to me, as I've travelled the district over, I believe the people trust their pastors and the people want somebody that they can trust," said Halvorson.

Halvorson is hoping to pick up votes from voters who no longer trust Jackson. Two weeks ago, the House Ethics Committee voted to extend its investigation of the 16-year incumbent. The committee has been looking into whether Jackson knew of a plot by supporters to make a big campaign contribution to Rod Blagojevich in exchange for Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.

"I will be vindicated - very confident of that," said Jackson.

In campaign mode Sunday, Jackson and his wife Sandi caught a performance of 'Scrooge' at the Family Christian Center in Munster, where dozens of 2nd District constituents attend. Jackson says he is not worried about losing support among African Americans, and while the congressman had been laying low with ethics probes and personal problem, Jackson says he is focused on the campaign.

"I'm not distracted at all I'm focused on education, the economy for the people of the 2nd District, providing them with jobs and putting them back to work, and their healthcare," said Jackson.

The endorsements that may carry the most weight politically and financially are from elected officials. Washington says those are expected to go to Jackson.

The 2nd District has been redrawn since the last election and now stretches from Jackson's South Side home all the all down to Kankakee.

Much of it is in Halvorson's old district. She lost her one-term seat to Republican Adam Kinzinger in the 11th District.

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