4 Republicans vying for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s vacant 2nd Congressional District seat

February 19, 2013 3:58:27 PM PST
The primary election in the 2nd Congressional District is a week away.

The seat was left open when Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned.

There was a recent flurry of candidates dropping out of the Democratic race -- in the is predominately Democratic district -- but there are four Republicans who hope to offer voters in the 2nd District more options.

The district has been represented by Democrats since the 1950s. Some Republicans think now is the time for leadership from another party.

"It has been decades," said GOP candidate Beverly Reid. "I think it's time for a change. I have never run for political office. I never considered it."

Reid says she took up the idea to run after seeing the violence in her hometown of Chicago. The retired educator wants to work on solutions.

"Violence in the city is not new, but it is out of hand," Reid said. "I believe it is an epidemic, and you cannot solve a problem by treating the symptoms. You have to treat the root cause."

Candidate Paul McKinley wants make to ensure shared prosperity for constituents in the district.

"There is work going on. You can see this is a billion dollar operation, but the people in this neighborhood and the contractors in the neighborhood cannot get opportunity," said McKinley.

McKinley has never run for office and says his candidacy would be most effective running as a Republican.

"The Democrats didn't ruin this seat, the machine ruined this seat," McKinley said. "So I'm running against the machine. I'm not running against any particular candidate."

Two other Republicans are running for the seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr., who was sidelined for medical issues, resigned and charged for illegal use of campaign funds.

Lenny McAllister is an author and political commentator originally from Pittsburgh. McAllister was not available for an interview Tuesday.

Eric Wallace has advanced degrees in biblical studies and has been active in the Republican party. He previously ran for Illinois State Senate in the 19th District. He did not respond to ABC7's request for an interview.

Voters in the 2nd District will also see a fifth Republican on the ballot. However, James Taylor withdrew from the race. Election judges are to post signs informing voters that Taylor is not a candidate.