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Snow Could Affect Tuesday's Ill. House Primary Snow Could Affect Tuesday's Ill. House Primary Snow Could Affect Tuesday's Ill. House Primary Snow Could Affect Tuesday...

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Snow Could Affect Tuesday's Ill. House Primary

photo of Steven Shepard
February 25, 2013

Snow is in the forecast for Tuesday's Democratic primary in Illinois' Second Congressional District, raising the possibility that lower turnout could affect the results of the race.

The National Weather Service office in Romeoville, Ill., has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Chicagoland area on Tuesday. The current forecast calls for between 3 and 6 inches of snow, though gusty winds off Lake Michigan could lead to dangerously low visibilities in the heavier snow showers. The same storm is expected to dump more than a foot of snow Monday across the Southern Plains; Blizzard Warnings are currently in effect for parts of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

The storm introduces an aspect of unpredictability into an already-unclear situation. There has been little reliable polling in Tuesday's primary, which will determine the Democratic nominee for the seat belonging to disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill. Turnout was already expected to be low; the 2012 primary between Jackson and former Rep. Debbie Halvorson drew only 78,000 voters.

Hotline On Call reached out to three of the leading candidates to ask how the forecast would affect their campaign.

Jonathan Blair, a spokesman for former state Rep. Robin Kelly, said in an email: "[W]e always knew that our plans would have to accommodate for varying weather conditions. We're all set."

A spokesperson for Alderman Anthony Beale said they're preparing for the weather so they can make sure supporters can get out to the polls. Prior to the snowy forecast, Chicago Democratic strategist Thom Serafin told Hotline On Call last week that Beale, as a longtime city alderman, has the most reliable turnout base.

A representative with Halvorson's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The district is overwhelmingly Democratic, and the winner of Tuesday's primary is expected to coast in the April 9 special election.

Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m.-7 p.m.

-- Christopher Peleo-Lazar contributed to this post.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misidentified the states currently under Blizzard Warnings.

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