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January 14, 2013

Five Races to Watch in 2013

After a hard-fought and highly charged presidential battle in 2012 — not to mention Congressional races and redistricting — one might hope that 2013 would provide a respite from campaign politics. No such luck.

The transition from the first Obama administration to the second is expected to produce at least one high-profile Senate special election (in Massachusetts). More specials could be around the corner if the president looks to Congress to fill other Cabinet vacancies.

There are House specials under way as well due to resignations, giving no rest for the weary political class — and a continued revenue stream for a small handful of campaign consultants.

The 2013 specials are in addition to the two off-year gubernatorial races on tap this year in Virginia and New Jersey: two states worth watching for very different reasons. Virginia, especially, will be fascinating to watch, and the battle in the commonwealth ranks No. 1 on our list.
Full story

January 8, 2013

Illinois: Cook County CAO Robin Kelly Wins Top Spot on Special Election Ballot

Democrat Robin Kelly hit the jackpot — sort of.

The 2nd District special election candidate in Illinois won the lottery for the top spot on the primary ballot.

It’s a small victory, but every advantage helps in a crowded field for what officials expect to be a low turnout primary Feb. 26. The winner of the Democratic primary will likely become the next Member of Congress from this heavily Democratic district on Chicago’s south side.

On Tuesday, election officials hosted two separate lotteries to determine the ballot order.  Full story

January 7, 2013

Illinois: Filing Period Closes for Jackson Special Election

Twenty-two candidates filed to run in the special election for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat before Monday’s deadline.

Every previously announced top-tier candidate filed his or her signature petitions for this heavily Democratic district on Chicago’s south side: Alderman Anthony Beale, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly and former Rep. Mel Reynolds.

Additionally, health care executive Joyce Washington filed to run in the Democratic primary. She was a statewide candidate in 2002 and 2004.

In the coming weeks, election officials will confirm each candidate has the requisite signatures on their petitions — about 1,300 valid names for Democrats. The primary is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Seventeen Democrats submitted their signature petitions, plus five Republicans, including conservative analyst and radio host Lenny McAllister. Democrats are expected to easily hold the seat. Jackson resigned from the House in November amid a federal investigation and after a prolonged absence for health troubles.

December 28, 2012

Report: Trotter Quits Special Election in Illinois

State Sen. Donne Trotter will drop out of the special election for ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat, according to a report from NBC Chicago.

A Democrat and longtime local lawmaker, Trotter faces charges for attempting to bring a weapon onto a plane at O’Hare International Airport in early December. He told law enforcement officials he forgot the gun was in his bag. He is scheduled to appear in court in January to contest the charges.

Trotter leaves a crowded and complicated primary for the 2nd District, which includes the south side of Chicago, southwestern suburbs and some rural territory west of the stateline. It’s a heavily Democratic district, and the winner of the Feb. 26 primary is expected to be the next member of Congress.

Full story

December 12, 2012

Illinois: Democrats to Endorse 2nd District Candidate

Chicago-area Democrats are scheduled on Saturday to slate a candidate in the special election for the open 2nd District seat.

Influential Thornton Township Committeeman Frank Zuccarelli will lead the committee to pick a favorite in a burgeoning field of Democrats.

But Zuccarelli’s favorite, state Sen. Donne Trotter, was recently charged with trying to bring a gun on a plane. Full story

December 5, 2012

Illinois: Special Election Candidate Charged With Trying to Bring Gun on Plane

State Sen. Donne Trotter, a Democratic candidate in the 2nd District special election, has been charged with trying to bring a weapon onto a plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Trotter must appear in bond court Thursday morning to answer the Class 4 felony charge that carries from one to three years in prison, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

A Transportation Security Administration agent found an unloaded gun with bullets in Trotter’s garment bag Wednesday morning while he was attempting to travel to Washington, D.C., according to local reports. He allegedly told the agent that he forgot to remove the weapon after his shift at a security job.

A favorite of local Democrats, Trotter was seen as having the inside track to win his party’s endorsement for the Feb. 26 primary. He’s a longtime state lawmaker, serving for more than 20 years.

Full story

December 3, 2012

Illinois: Democratic Field Solidifies for 2nd District Special Election

At least seven well-known Democrats will run in next year’s special primary for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat on the south side of Chicago.

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly kicked off her campaign for the 2nd District over the weekend, joining six Democrats already in the race: Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Alderman Anthony Beale, former Rep. Mel Reynolds, former NFL Linebacker Napoleon Harris, state Sen. Donne Trotter and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson.

Two other potential candidates declined bids recently: Rev. Corey Brooks and Alderman Will Burns.

The 2nd District is heavily Democratic, and the winner of the Feb. 26 special primary will most likely win the April 9 special election and join Congress. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation this weekend to schedule that April 9 special general election to coincide with local elections. Full story

November 29, 2012

Illinois: Hutchinson Joins Special Election in 2nd District

The field continues to grow in the special election for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson announced Thursday that she will join the burgeoning open Democratic primary for the 2nd District, south of Chicago.

“Families in the South Suburbs and the southside deserve a representative who understands their concerns and who will work alongside President [Barack] Obama to create new jobs, rebuild our roads and schools, and protect the gains we’ve made on equal pay, health care and civil rights,” Hutchinson said in a statement.

Officials scheduled the special primary for Feb. 26. The winner of the Democratic primary will likely come to Congress to represent this heavily Democratic district.

Full story

November 28, 2012

Illinois: Ex-Rep. Reynolds to Run for Former Seat in Special Election

Disgraced former Rep. Mel Reynolds, a Democrat, will announced Wednesday afternoon that he’s seeking the Illinois 2nd District seat he once held, according to The Associated Press.

Reynolds resigned in 1995 after he was sentenced to prison for a sexual relationship with a teenage campaign worker.

Accordingly, local Democrats do not view him as a viable candidate in the special election for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.

Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Alderman Anthony Beale and former NFL Linebacker Napoleon Harris have announced campaigns, and several more Democrats are expected to join the field in the next week. (See a full list of potential candidates here.)

Jackson announced his resignation from Congress last week, and officials have scheduled a special primary for his seat on Feb. 26. In this heavily Democratic district, the winner of the primary will serve in Congress in all likelihood.

Jackson won the special election to succeed Reynolds in 1995.

November 27, 2012

Illinois: Harris to Play Ball in 2nd District Special Election

Count former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris in for Illinois’ 2nd District special election.

Harris, a Democrat, won a state Senate seat earlier this month. But on Tuesday morning, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Harris will run for the seat held by former Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. until last week.

Harris joins two fellow Democrats, Alderman Anthony Beale and former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, in the race. Democrats expect an extremely crowded field (for a full rundown of potential candidates, see Tuesday’s Roll Call story).

The 2nd District south of Chicago is a heavily Democratic district. The Feb. 26 primary victor is expected to serve in Congress.

Harris dumped more than $200,000 of his own cash into his state legislative bid. His deep pockets could prove to be an even greater asset in this short, 16-week special election because raising cash is at a premium.

Harris played defensive end for Northwestern University’s football team. He later played for the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings. Harris also owns two Beggars Pizza franchises.

Illinois: Beale Joins Special Election for Jackson Seat

Alderman Anthony Beale has filed paperwork to run in the special election for former Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s 2nd District seat on Chicago’s South Side.

The Democrat’s campaign announced that he “officially formed a political committee” late Monday with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Beale marks the second Democrat to officially jump into the race, following former Rep. Debbie Halvorson’s Monday morning announcement. The district is heavily Democratic, and the winner of the primary will serve in Congress in all likelihood.

Jackson announced his departure from Congress last week. His resignation was reportedly part of a plea deal with federal investigators for allegedly spending his campaign funds on personal purchases.

The special election primary is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Tuesday’s Roll Call includes a rundown of all of the potential and announced candidates for the special election.

November 26, 2012

Illinois: Governor Schedules Feb. 26 Special Election Primary

Illinois: Governor Schedules Feb. 26 Special Election Primary

A special election primary has been set for Jesse L. Jackson Jr.'s 2nd District seat. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has scheduled a Feb. 26 special election primary for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.

In this heavily Democratic, South Side Chicago district, the primary victor in all likelihood will win the general election and serve as the next member of Congress from the 2nd District.

Jackson, an eight-term Democrat, announced his resignation from Congress last week. His departure was reportedly part of a plea deal for allegedly using campaign funds for personal purchases.

His vacancy sets up a crowded field to replace him. Jackson’s former primary foe, ex-Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill., announced her bid for the seat Monday morning — and many more are expected to follow in the coming days.

Full story

lllinois: Halvorson Jumps Into Jackson Special

Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill., will run in the special election to replace her former political nemesis, former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.

Halvorson declared herself “the only candidate who could avoid freshman orientation and hit the ground running,” in a statement to local reporters Monday morning.

Jackson announced his resignation from Congress last week amid reports that he had negotiated a deal with federal investigators for alleged campaign fund misuse.

Full story

November 21, 2012

Jackson Resigns From Congress

Jackson Resigns From Congress

Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. tendered his resignation from Congress Wednesday afternoon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:18 p.m. | Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. submitted his letter of resignation from the House on Wednesday, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, confirmed.

In the letter to Boehner, the Illinois Democrat said that his resignation would be effective as of Wednesday, citing ongoing health issues.

“The constituents of the Second District deserve a full-time legislator in Washington, something I cannot be for the foreseeable future. My health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible with service in the House of Representatives,” Jackson wrote.

Jackson  also acknowledged the ongoing federal probe into his conduct, without getting into details of legal matters. Full story

November 13, 2012

Illinois: Speculation Increases Over Special Election for Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s Seat

Illinois: Speculation Increases Over Special Election for Jesse L. Jackson Jr.s Seat

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Special election speculation swirled this weekend amid reports that Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. could resign his seat as part of a plea deal with federal investigators.

CBS Chicago reported Jackson has not pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, but he’s discussing a deal that includes his resignation by the end of the year, plus some jail time.

Possible Democratic candidates who would run to succeed Jackson include Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly and state Sens. Toi Hutchinson and Napoleon Harris, a former linebacker for Northwestern University, according to several Illinois sources. Full story

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