Cook County Clerk plans for special election to replace Jackson, Jr.

He proposes holding a primary February 26, when most precincts in the 2nd Congressional District already have an election

November 21, 2012

(WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)
Cook County Clerk David Orr

Cook County Clerk David Orr said Wednesday that he hopes to hold a primary election in February to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.’s seat in Congress.

Jackson announced his resignation mere weeks after handily winning re-election.

Most of the precincts included in the 2nd Congressional District already have a special election February 26, and all precincts have general elections planned for April 9. Chicago is the only place in Illinois not already holding a primary election in February; those Chicago precincts would be the only added cost.

But Governor Pat Quinn needs court permission to abbreviate the election schedule; he said Wednesday he plans to make an announcement Monday regarding the rescheduled election.

"It’s important to have a schedule of elections that’s as economical as possible that’s done as quickly but fairly as possible, giving all those who want to run for the office a chance to conduct their campaigns," he said.

Quinn says he will consult with election officials to see if there are any upcoming election dates that can fit in with the special election. He says local governments will foot the bill.

Orr said holding the election on pre-existing voting days would save money and help with voter turnout. And he wasn’t worried about giving candidates enough time to gather petitions and mount campaigns.

“One thing you can be sure of in running for Congress in the second congressional district, there’ll be plenty of candidates,” said Orr. “I believe whatever the court sets as a timeline will be sufficient.”

—Natalie Moore contributed to this report.

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