Replacing Jesse Jackson, Jr In IL-02
Just when we thought the off-season was starting, there’s another critical race on the horizon. After getting caught up in some unfortunate dealings, Jesse Jackson Jr resigned his seat in Illinois’s 2nd district before Thanksgiving last year, setting up a crowded special election in Chicagoland—on the south side of the city, in the south suburbs and Will and Kankakee counties.
While the district is generally considered a reliably Democratic seat, the choice voters face there is a stark one. Only one poll has been released in the district, and it shows former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson leading the race. Halvorson represents the worst side of the Democratic Party. In her one term in office she nurtured a reputation as a fiscal conservative and a corporate Democrat. She voted with the anti-family/pro-Business New Dems and the now almost-defunct Blue Dog caucus, Democrats who seem to think that what the middle class needs and wants is more pandering to Big Business and multi-national corporations.
Halvorson was elected in 2008 on the coattails of President Obama. Her first year in Congress, the National Journal rated her as one of the most conservative Democrats in the House. Probably her most shameful vote was against the Dodd-Frank reform package that was intended to limit the “too big to fail” mentality that sent taxpayer dollars to bail out the inveterate gamblers on Wall Street. She spent two years proving to the country that she’s a corporate shill more focused on cutting taxes on the rich and protecting the wealthiest Americans from regulation, and now she wants the 2nd District to send her back to the Beltway.
She ran in a primary against JJJ last year, and thankfully was soundly defeated for that seat. But in a crowded special election where most of the other candidates are greener, fresher, and don’t have a record of standing up for the big boys, she jumps to the head of the pack.
Fortunately, we have options. The same poll that showed Halvorson out front, showed a young state senator from Illinois’s 40th district within striking distance. Toi Hutchinson is 39, joined the state senate in 2009, and since then has worked hard to protect the good guys. She’s fought for labor friendly investments in infrastructure and public transportation, and passed a tax on strip clubs that generated funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs while the rest of the state was cutting the safety net. She’s also a co-sponsor on the marriage equality bill making its way through the Illinois General Assembly, and her website indicates that she’s a strong supporter of banning assault weapons and high capacity clips. Blue America is in the middle of the vetting process for the February 26 primary right now but if you want to jump aboard, you can help Toi here.