GOP candidate for 2nd Congressional District says Robin Kelly backed by Democratic 'machine'

February 27, 2013 3:29:30 PM PST
The turnout was very low for Tuesday's 2nd Congressional District primary election, but election results won't be certified until next month.

There were only a few problems at the polls. Wednesday, board of election workers had to open memory cards from two precincts that could not be read by computers Tuesday night. Those votes are being counted and will be added to the totals.

A former state representative won the Democratic primary, while a newcomer to politics is ahead in a very close Republican race.

Tuesday's results won't be certified until next month. Right now, there is a clear winner in the Democratic primary, while only 23 votes separate the top two Republican finishers.

As Robin Kelly thanked voters in Richton Park for making her the 2nd District Democratic nominee, in Chicago, the man who is leading the tight Republican primary campaigned as though the result was official.

"I represent the people," said Paul McKinley, Republican candidate for Congress. "If the people want a change, they'll support me."

McKinley -- community activist, ex-convict and GOP newcomer -- called Democrat Kelly just another in a long succession of wannabe's backed by what he calls "the machine."

"Robin Kelly is funded by the machine. She is anointed by the machine," said McKinley.

"That really makes me laugh because I've never been part of any machine," said Kelly.

Kelly, a former state rep, Illinois treasurer's office and county administrator, won a majority in a race with 13 other candidates. She was supported by dozens of other Democratic elected officials and the wife of one of President Barack Obama's best friends.

Kelly downplayed $2.3 million in television ads supporting her campaign that were purchased by New York City's billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate.

"I really think it was my message, and part of my message was gun safety and gun control," said Kelly.

"The voters of this congressional district understood that they and their children and grandchildren are at risk with guns on the streets," Bloomberg said.

"We don't need any new gun ban laws on the books," said McKinley.

McKinley contends Kelly and Bloomberg use gun control to distract from the real issue, which he says is poverty.

"People are not shooting each other 'cause they're just shooting each other," McKinley said. "They're shooting each other because they don't have no money."

Kelly tallied nearly 30,000 more votes than the Republican nominee and will face a Green party candidate and several independents in the general election.

"I take nothing for granted, and I respect whomever my opponents are," Kelly said.

The general election is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9.

Whichever candidate wins the final vote, he or she will literally be rushed to Washington and sworn in within a few days.