Halvorson levels backroom accusation after Hutchinson drops out

February 16, 2013 10:00:00 PM PST
The departure of a major candidate for the 2nd District congressional seat has prompted accusations by some of the remaining candidates.

They include charges of backroom deals and undue outside influence.

All this only nine days before the February 26 primary that will select candidates to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr.

And then there were three.

Political analysts say Democratic State Senator Toi Hutchinson's decision to back out and support Robin Kelly leaves that many major candidates in the 15 candidate field: Kelly, 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale ad former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson.

Hutchinson says she's quitting because she didn't want to risk dividing the community.

But others see a different dynamic at work.

"We're extremely troubled that we have a billionaire out of New York trying to buy this election, trying to tell the people of the second district who their representative should be," Beale said.

That New York billionaire would be Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

His political action committee has financed ads blasting Halvorson and Hutchinson for supporting the goals of the National Rifle Association.

"The NRA has been spending money for years and i think that this particular PAC they're counterbalancing what the NRA has been doing for a very long time," Kelly said.

But there's more.

Sunday Beale claimed that he received a call on Saturday from a political operative urging him to drop out of the race.

He wouldn't say who it was that made that call.

And Halvorson has accused Kelly and Hutchinson of doing a back room deal at the urging of un-named outsiders.

"Deals get made all the time in politics," said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington. "It's in the interest of the African American community to consolidate behind one strong candidate so there was probably a lot of pressure on Toi Hutchinson to get out. If you want to call that a deal, that's politics."

On the Republican side there are five candidates: Lenny McAllister, Paul McKinley, Beverly Reid, James Taylor, Sr. and Eric Wallace.

There's also an independent candidate, Marcus Lewis.