Welcome back to Hotline Sort, and hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving. With the new election cycle upon us, we’re tweaking our format a little – doing a deep dive into a different political topic each morning. Today we're taking a look at the potential field of Democratic candidates for the special election to succeed former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., who resigned over the holiday week.
Jackson’s resignation from Congress on Wednesday means Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has until the end of Monday to set a special election to fill the seat. But though no dates have been set yet, that hasn't stopped some candidates from gearing up for the race: A big Democratic field is expected given the heavily-Democratic nature of the district and the fact that politicians can safely run without giving up their current seats. The Chicago Tribune reported this weekend that the Cook County Democratic Party would seek to recommend a candidate to replace Jackson. Here's a look at some potential (and one declared) Democratic candidates:
Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson lost badly to Jackson in this year's primary, and announced Sunday that she would run again, citing her ability to "hit the ground running" given her past congressional tenure. If there’s a crowded field of candidates from Chicago, Halvorson (who's the only white candidate so far who's expressed interest) would have the opportunity to consolidate support from the outer suburbs.
State Sen. Toi Hutchinson announced her interest in the race just hours after Jackson's announcement, sending out an email saying that over the coming days she'd be "speaking with my family, neighbors and community leaders, whom I've known and worked with for years" to explore a congressional campaign. She also touted her work in the state Senate on behalf of schools and in fighting sexual assault.
Attorney Sam Adam Jr. -- who represented former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich as well as R. Kelly -- didn't even wait for Jackson's announcement to express his interest, telling the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday that "prominent persons" in the state and Chicago had urged him to run should Jackson step down.
State Sen.-elect Napoleon Harris (who is also a former NFL player) would be a contender from the suburbs, as Hutchinson would. He lent his Senate campaign $227,000.
Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger also told the Chicago Sun-Times shortly after Jackson's announcement that he's seriously mulling a bid after getting some calls about it from listeners to Tuesday night talk show. Two of Stroger's one-time aides are facing corruption trials, something he said he didn't think would hurt him should he move forward with a run.
Alderman Will Burns on Friday said he would make a decision on the race soon. Burns has close ties to President Obama going back to the mid-1990's.
Former state Rep. David Miller, who ran unsuccessfully for comptroller, said he would decide on whether to run "shortly."
And that isn't all. Other potential contenders to keep an eye on include: Jackson's brother Jonathan Jackson; his wife, Alderman Sandi Jackson, former state Rep. Robin Kelly (who ran unsuccessfully for state Treasurer), state Sen. Donne Trotter, and Alderman Anthony Beale.