WBEZ | 2nd special election http://www.wbez.org/tags/2nd-special-election Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Anti-gun Democrat wins primary to replace Jackson Jr. http://www.wbez.org/news/anti-gun-democrat-wins-primary-replace-jackson-jr-105776 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP Robin Kelly.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The newly elected Democratic nominee to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. vowed to become a leader in the fight for federal gun control and directly challenged the National Rifle Association in her victory speech.</p><p>Robin Kelly, a former state representative, emerged early as a voice for gun control after Jackson resigned in November. Then she gained huge momentum when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg&#39;s super PAC poured $2 million into anti-gun television ads that blasted one of her Democratic opponents, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, for receiving a previous high rating from the NRA.</p><p>Kelly supports an assault weapons ban, while Halvorson does not.</p><p>&quot;We were on the right side of the issue, and our message resonated,&quot; Kelly said shortly after her win.</p><p>In her victory speech, she promised to fight &quot;until gun violence is no longer a nightly feature on the evening news&quot; and directly addressed the NRA, saying &quot;their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end.&quot;</p><p>Bloomberg called Kelly&#39;s win an important victory for &quot;common-sense leadership&quot; on gun violence, saying in a statement that voters nationwide are demanding change.</p><p>But other Democratic front-runners accused Bloomberg of buying a race and interfering in the heavily urban district that also includes some Chicago suburbs and rural areas.</p><p>&quot;It shows, unfortunately, you can&#39;t go up against that big money. ... That&#39;s the problem with super PACs,&quot; said Halvorson, who unsuccessfully challenged Jackson in a primary last year. &quot;There is nothing I could have done differently.&quot;</p><p>Because the district is overwhelmingly Democratic, Kelly&#39;s primary win all but assures she will sail through the April 9 general election and head to Washington.</p><p>In the Republican contest, Chicago resident Paul McKinley led Eric Wallace, a publisher of Christian books, by 23 votes with a handful of precincts still uncounted. McKinley, a former felon, describes himself as a grassroots activist on behalf of ex-offenders.</p><p>The race was the district&#39;s first wide-open primary since 1995, when Jackson was first elected to Congress. He resigned in November after a months-long medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues, then pleaded guilty this month to spending $750,000 in campaign money on lavish personal items.</p><p>Even with his legal saga playing out in the courts, the gun debate dominated the primary, which featured 14 Democrats. The election came after Chicago saw its deadliest January in more than a decade, including the fatal shooting of an honors student just days after she performed at President Barack Obama&#39;s second inauguration.</p><p>Political experts and fellow candidates said the super PAC money made all the difference, particularly in an election with a short primary and low voter turnout.</p><p>&quot;The money bought Kelly a tremendous among of attention,&quot; said Laura Washington, a political analyst in Chicago. &quot;She tapped into a real hard nerve out there in the community. People are really concerned about gun control and violence. She was smart to focus like a laser on that issue.&quot;</p><p>Bloomberg&#39;s entrance into the race became controversial, at least with the candidates and some voters.</p><p>The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent has long taken a vocal stance against guns. He launched his super PAC weeks before the November election and spent more than $12 million to back seven candidates nationwide, including newly elected Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, a California Democrat who ousted an incumbent during a race where guns were an issue.</p><p>On Tuesday, Kelly told supporters that she would work with Obama and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to get gun control legislation through Congress.</p><p>However, gun-rights advocates dismissed the notion that Kelly&#39;s election and Bloomberg&#39;s attention would fuel the debate on gun control.</p><p>&quot;This is an aberration,&quot; said Illinois State Rifle Association spokesman Richard Pearson. &quot;This shows what you can do with $2 million in an offseason race. He bought the election.&quot;</p><p>Another Democratic front-runner, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, also took issue with the ads, saying people were &quot;extremely upset&quot; that someone from New York was trying to tell people in Illinois how to vote.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s what money gets you,&quot; he said after conceding the race. &quot;We earned every vote.&quot;</p><p>Roughly 14 percent of registered voters came to the polls, an estimate Chicago officials called the lowest turnout in decades. Adding to the problem was a blast of wintry weather that snarled traffic and could have kept some voters home.</p><p>But those who did cast ballots indicated that guns, ethics and economic woes were on their minds.</p><p>Mary Jo Higgins of Steger, a south Chicago suburb, said she voted for Halvorson because the former congresswoman was &quot;the only Democrat who believes in the Second Amendment.&quot;</p><p>But Country Club Hills minister Rosemary Gage said she voted for Kelly because she was &quot;standing with (Obama) and trying to get rid of guns.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s really bad in Chicago and across the country,&quot; Gage said. &quot;Too many children have died.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 26 Feb 2013 20:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/anti-gun-democrat-wins-primary-replace-jackson-jr-105776 Bloomberg ads draw candidates' ire in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/news/bloomberg-ads-draw-candidates-ire-illinois-105763 <p><p>Two candidates to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress say voters should send a message that money cannot buy the election.</p><p>New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg&#39;s super PAC has spent more than $2 million on ads attacking former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson over her positions on guns.</p><p>Halvorson says if the ads are successful Bloomberg will try to &quot;buy seats&quot; across the country. She says &quot;we can&#39;t let that happen.&quot;</p><p>Alderman Anthony Beale says voters are &quot;extremely upset&quot; that someone from New York is trying to tell people in Illinois how to vote. He predicts there will be a &quot;backlash.&quot;</p><p>Halvorson, Beale and former state Rep. Robin Kelly are considered front runners in Tuesday&#39;s Democratic primary.</p><p>Jackson resigned in November. He pleaded guilty this month to misusing campaign funds.</p></p> Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/bloomberg-ads-draw-candidates-ire-illinois-105763 Voters head to polls in ex-Rep. Jackson's district http://www.wbez.org/news/voters-head-polls-ex-rep-jacksons-district-105759 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/IL02_110_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After a fierce primary campaign dominated by gun control, ethics and economic woes, voters were choosing the likely replacement for Jesse Jackson Jr. on Tuesday, three months after his legal troubles and battle with depression forced the son of the civil rights leader to resign from Congress.</p><p>The Democratic front-runners &mdash; former state Rep. Robin Kelly, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson and Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale &mdash; made Election Day stops through the blistery winter weather at train stations and restaurants in the district, which spans Chicago&#39;s South Side, south suburbs and some rural areas.</p><p>They were among 14 Democrats and four Republicans in the special primary, but the Democratic winner was expected to sail through the April 9 general election because the area is heavily Democratic.</p><p>Halvorson, who lost a primary challenge to Jackson last year, has been targeted for her position on gun control, which became a key issue in the district, parts of which have been deeply affected by Chicago&#39;s gun violence.</p><p>Independence USA, the super PAC of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, poured more than $2 million into the race for anti-gun ads in support of Kelly and against Halvorson, a former state lawmaker and one-term congresswoman. Kelly supports an assault-weapons ban, but Halvorson does not.</p><p>After casting her ballot, Halvorson warned that if the ads are successful Bloomberg will try to &quot;buy seats&quot; across the country.</p><p>&quot;We can&#39;t let that happen,&quot; she said.</p><p>Beale also took issue with the ads, saying people are &quot;extremely upset&quot; that someone from New York is trying to tell people in Illinois how to vote and predicting that there will be a &quot;backlash.&quot;</p><p>The guns issue dominated candidate forums and television ads and also appeared to have resonated with voters.</p><p>Mary Jo Higgins of south suburban Steger said she voted for Halvorson because the former congresswoman is &quot;the only Democrat who believes in the Second Amendment.&quot;</p><p>But Country Club Hills minister Rosemary Gage voted for Kelly because the former state lawmaker is &quot;standing with (President Barack Obama) and trying to get rid of guns.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s really bad in Chicago and across the country,&quot; Gage said. &quot;Too many children have died.&quot;</p><p>The issue of ethics was also on the minds of voters, particularly as Jackson&#39;s legal saga has been playing out in federal court. He pleaded guilty early this month to charges that accused him of misspending $750,000 in campaign money on lavish personal items, including a Rolex watch and furs.</p><p>His departure created a rare opening in the district, where voters haven&#39;t seen an open primary since 1995, when Jackson first won office.</p><p>Halvorson was greeted by cheers of &quot;good luck&quot; and &quot;go Debbie go&quot; as she cast her ballot at a suburban community center in the village of Steger. Speaking afterward, she said it was time for voters to close the chapter on Jackson&#39;s ethical problems and send someone to Washington who could hit the ground running.</p><p>Halvorson is counting on voters in the southern, more rural part of the district, where she grew up.</p><p>David Berchem, a retired painter, said he voted for Halvorson because he believes she will represent all residents of the district and she&#39;s &quot;as honest a person as you can find.&quot;</p><p>Beale voted at a school in Chicago, while Kelly voted early.</p><p>Beale touted his record as a job creator for the South Side ward he represents in Chicago&#39;s City Council.</p><p>That&#39;s the reason Juanita Williams, who went to school with Beale, said she voted for him Tuesday, noting that he helped bring a Wal-Mart to the area. The 47-year-old assistant teacher also said Beale has regularly provided school supplies and Christmas gifts to needy students.</p><p>Election officials in the three counties covering the district reported no problems at the polls, even though voters and poll workers had to contend with a blustery mix of snow and sleet. Chicago&#39;s Department of Streets and Sanitation deployed extra resources to keep polls accessible.</p><p>Jackson is the third consecutive congressman from the district to leave office under an ethical or legal cloud. He resigned in November after a months-long medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues.</p><p>Turnout at the polls was extremely low, according to early estimates, and election officials said the weather might have kept some voters on the fence at home.</p><p>The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said roughly 11 percent of registered Chicago voters in the district had voted through early afternoon, including early and absentee ballots. Final projections were expected to be in the mid-teens, still one of the lowest turnouts in recent decades. Election officials in Will and Kankakee counties said turnout hovered around 10 percent.</p><p>The last time the Chicago area had a special primary election for Congress was in 2009, after Rahm Emanuel left his seat to take a job as White House chief of staff. Roughly 18 percent of registered voters in the district spanning North Side neighborhoods voted. In suburban Cook County, the percentage was far lower.</p></p> Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/voters-head-polls-ex-rep-jacksons-district-105759 Low voter turnout expected in Jesse Jackson Jr. district http://www.wbez.org/news/low-voter-turnout-expected-jesse-jackson-jr-district-105728 <p><p>Low voter turnout is expected in the race to replace former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and some election officials worry winter weather may further complicate things.</p><p>Nearly two dozen candidates are running in Tuesday&#39;s special primary in Illinois&#39; 2nd District, which includes Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs.</p><p>Early voting has been paltry.</p><p>In Chicago, roughly 2 percent of registered voters cast early ballots. The number is up slightly compared to a special primary election in 2009.</p><p>Overall, Chicago turnout in the 2009 primary was 18 percent. In suburban Cook County, turnout was roughly 10 percent, including early votes.</p><p>The National Weather Service has issued a storm watch for northern Illinois including Cook County.</p><p>Election officials say they&#39;re communicating with streets and sanitation workers to make sure pathways to polls are clear.</p></p> Mon, 25 Feb 2013 13:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/low-voter-turnout-expected-jesse-jackson-jr-district-105728 Hutchinson exits race for Jackson's US House seat http://www.wbez.org/news/hutchinson-exits-race-jacksons-us-house-seat-105583 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS6731_AP111213148450.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A well-known Illinois state senator dropped her bid Sunday for the U.S. House seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr., narrowing the field and consolidating key support behind another Democrat in a race where gun control has emerged as a central issue.</p><p>State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, targeted in recent days by critical anti-gun campaign ads funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg&#39;s political action committee, said she was leaving the race and swinging her support to former state Rep. Robin Kelly. The major shake-up came with just nine days to go before the Feb. 26 primary.</p><p>Hutchinson&#39;s move reflected the sharp divisions over the gun control issue, but also appeared to be in line with efforts to consolidate support for one of the many black candidates in the black-majority district. Community leaders had expressed concerns that the black vote could be split, thus boosting the chances of former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a white candidate whom Jackson defeated in last year&#39;s primary battle.</p><p>&quot;I am simply unwilling to risk playing a role going forward that could result in dividing our community at time a when we need unity more than ever,&quot; Hutchinson said Sunday in a written statement. &quot;In the wake of horrendous gun related crimes all across our country, I agree with Robin that we need to stand together to fight gun violence.&quot;</p><p>Bloomberg&#39;s super PAC, Independence USA, has run ads in the district that target Hutchinson for her past opposition to tougher gun restrictions &mdash; one of the campaign&#39;s most pressing issues along with economic hardships such as joblessness and foreclosures.</p><p>In a district encompassing parts of Chicago&#39;s South Side that have been deeply affected by gun violence, Hutchinson campaigned on more moderate views, saying the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn., brought about a change of heart.</p><p>Kelly, too, was among those criticizing Hutchinson&#39;s previous position and questioning whether her newfound stance was genuine. Now, Kelly says she&#39;s pleased to have her former rival&#39;s backing.</p><p>&quot;In Congress, I will work with Sen. Hutchinson ... and other leaders throughout our district to get guns off our streets and bring jobs to our neighborhoods,&quot; Kelly said in a statement.</p><p>With Hutchinson&#39;s departure, the race is down to three top Democratic contenders: Kelly, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale and Halvorson. The primary will likely decide the race because the district is so overwhelmingly Democratic.</p><p>Illinois&#39; 2nd district also has a majority of black voters, even after boundaries were redrawn to include rural areas where there are greater numbers of white voters and where Halvorson is from.</p><p>Halvorson said Sunday that she believes she can easily woo those who had supported Hutchinson. She said in an interview that she was surprised by the sudden withdrawal and questioned what was behind the decision.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s no way that she would get out of the race unless she was told that she had no choice,&quot; Halvorson told The Associated Press. &quot;And now what kind of deal was made? What is she going to get out of it? And I think everybody should come clean. ... This district is tired of wheeling and dealing.&quot;</p><p>Hutchinson&#39;s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.</p><p>Kelly told the AP that as far as she was aware there were no backroom negotiations or political deals made and that Hutchinson&#39;s decision was hers alone. She also does not think the ads by Bloomberg&#39;s PAC were any kind of tipping point in that decision.</p><p>Kelly defended the New York mayor&#39;s right to weigh in on an election in Illinois with ads endorsing her on the gun control issue and attacking her opponents.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s still up the people who go into the booth and vote,&quot; Kelly said in a phone interview. &quot;But I think those ads counterbalance the millions of dollars that the NRA (National Rifle Association) has spent to influence what they want to influence.&quot;</p><p>Halvorson also has been targeted by the Bloomberg PAC ads because of her opposition to an assault weapons ban. She bristled at the notion of Bloomberg wading into the election.</p><p>&quot;He&#39;s got billions of dollars, he has always been very controlling and he wants to control a congressional seat,&quot; she said.</p><p>Halvorson supports background checks for gun purchases and registration of all firearms but opposes an assault weapons ban, saying law-abiding gun owners have Second Amendment rights and that a ban in Cook County hasn&#39;t prevented gun violence.</p><p>The special election was triggered by Jackson&#39;s resignation in November. Jackson faces a federal conspiracy charge for allegedly spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal expenses. He also was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.</p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 11:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/hutchinson-exits-race-jacksons-us-house-seat-105583 Candidates can file petitions for Jackson's seat http://www.wbez.org/news/candidates-can-file-petitions-jacksons-seat-104665 <p><p>The first batch of candidates hoping to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. turned in paperwork Thursday to the Illinois State Board of Elections.</p><p>More than half a dozen Democrats filed candidacy petitions with signatures required for the Feb. 26 primary. The special election for the heavily Democratic 2nd District seat is April 9.</p><p>The candidates on the primary ballot include former state Rep. Robin Kelly, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, state Sen. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/toi-hutchinson-running-congress-104110">Toi Hutchinson</a>, state Sen.-elect Napoleon Harris and former U.S. Rep. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/admitting-mistakes-reynolds-bids-jacksons-congressional-seat-104061">Mel Reynolds</a>.</p><p>The November <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-resigns-congress-103969">resignation</a> of Jackson, who was first elected in 1995, creates a wide open primary. That&#39;s especially true after Cook County Democratic leaders <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/dems-fail-endorse-candidate-crowded-race-congressman-jacksons-seat-104404">couldn&#39;t agree</a> on a candidate to endorse and one of the front runners dropped out. State Sen. Donne Trotter, who was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/donne-trotter-drops-out-congressional-race-104611">arrested last month</a> when security workers at O&#39;Hare International Airport found a handgun in his bag, said he didn&#39;t want his legal problems to overshadow key issues in the region.</p><p>The district &mdash; which has approximately 420,000 registered voters &mdash; covers parts of Chicago&#39;s South Side, suburbs and rural areas. Parts of the territory have been hit particularly hard with unemployment and poverty.</p><p>Some candidates have made a gun control a top issue, particularly after last month&#39;s deadly school shooting in Connecticut.</p><p>Kelly, who supports an assault weapons ban, called it one of her top issues and said she plans to campaign aggressively, crisscrossing the district.</p><p>&quot;I plan to go from the beginning to the end,&quot; she said. &quot;Every voter is important, every constituent, from the city to south burbs.&quot;</p><p>Hutchinson said Thursday that she&#39;s raised more than $130,000 so far and collected more than double the 1,256 signatures she needed.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m going to use the support we&#39;ve earned from volunteers and small donors to build a campaign the Southland can be proud of,&quot; she said in a statement.</p><p>The filing period for established party candidates ends Monday. Former U.S. Rep. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/halvorson-run-replace-jackson-104012">Debbie Halvorson</a>, who challenged Jackson in last year&#39;s primary and lost, has said she&#39;s running.</p><p>Another candidate also will be familiar to voters in the region. Reynolds held the seat until he resigned from office in 1995 after being convicted of having sexual relations with an underage campaign worker. He was replaced by Jackson in a special election. Reynolds has said he believes voters will forgive his mistakes.</p><p>Jackson, who had been on medical leave for bipolar disorder for months, resigned in November. He cited his health and acknowledged he&#39;s under federal investigation reportedly for misuse of campaign funds.</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 07:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/candidates-can-file-petitions-jacksons-seat-104665 Dems fail to endorse a candidate in crowded race for Congressman Jackson's seat http://www.wbez.org/news/dems-fail-endorse-candidate-crowded-race-congressman-jacksons-seat-104404 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/IL2 slating zuccarelli tim bradford WBEZ Alex Keefe.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://pinterest.com/wbez/who-is-and-isn-t-running-for-congress/" target="_blank">crowded field</a> of candidates running to replace <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-resigns-congress-103969">Jesse Jackson Jr.</a> in Congress isn&#39;t getting any smaller.</p><p>Democratic Party bosses from Chicago&#39;s South Side and south suburbs failed to rally behind a single candidate at a slating session Saturday, despite hearing hours of political pitches from 16 candidates.</p><p>After about 90 minutes of private deliberations, the Democratic Committeemen emerged to announce they couldn&#39;t find enough common ground to endorse a single candidate, meaning the Feb. 26 primary for the 2<sup>nd</sup> Congressional District seat would be open.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s gonna be a tough race,&rdquo; said Thornton Township Committeeman Frank Zuccarelli, who chaired the slating committee. &ldquo;But we&rsquo;ve had tougher races in the past and we&rsquo;ve been able to survive. So we&rsquo;ve got confidence that the voters of the district are gonna make the right decision.&rdquo;</p><p>Zuccarelli, who controlled about two-thirds of the weighted vote needed to get the party&rsquo;s nod, still couldn&rsquo;t convince other Chicago and suburban committeemen to back his chosen candidate, veteran State Sen. Donne Trotter.</p><p>Indeed, party bosses heaped the most praise upon Trotter during his turn at the lectern, despite his <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-state-lawmaker-arrested-pistol-ohare-104217">arrest at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport last week</a> after being caught with a handgun at a security checkpoint. Committeemen allowed Trotter to speak and answer questions for about 38 minutes &ndash; longer than any other candidate &ndash; but no one asked about his felony gun charge.</p><p>At one point, even Trotter seemed to acknowledge he was being softballed: &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t disagree with you saying I&rsquo;m great,&rdquo; he said, drawing laughter from the committeemen.</p><p>Under the arcane rules of Illinois Democratic Party slating, not all committeemen are created equal. Party bosses&rsquo; votes are weighted differently, based on the Democratic turnout in their district in the last primary.</p><p>The party&rsquo;s failure to anoint a single chosen candidate means congressional hopefuls will jockey to distinguish themselves from the rest of the crowded field.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know that anything went wrong,&rdquo; Zuccarelli said. &ldquo;I think there were so many good candidates that it was difficult for everybody to decide who they wanted to vote for. There were several candidates that got lots of votes.&rdquo;</p><p>But he refused to release the vote totals.</p><p>Notably absent from Saturday&rsquo;s slating session was Jackson&rsquo;s wife, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ald-sandi-jackson-i-am-not-resigning-104331">Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson</a>, who had said earlier this week that she planned to attend. She apparently handed her more than 7,700 votes over to Zuccarelli, giving him 27,879 votes to award.</p><p>Alderman Jackson&rsquo;s spot remained empty during the four hours of testimony from candidates, save for the purses that two committeewomen set on the chair that had been reserved for her.</p><p>The hopefuls who sought the backing of the powerful Democratic operation Saturday ranged from long-time pols to political long-shots, including pastors, a dentist and an ex-NFL player who was just elected to the Illinois State Senate.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m running as a protest run, since we got 2,000 people running for this office, anyway,&rdquo; said Will Crosby, self-described voting rights activist.</p><p>Other candidates who sought the party&rsquo;s endorsement included Chicago Ald. Anthony Beale; former State Rep. Robin Kelly, who also served as chief of staff to an Illinois treasurer; State Sen. Toi Hutchinson; former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson; Rev. Anthony Williams; and State Sen.-elect Napoleon Harris, the former NFL player.</p><p>Democrats are strongly favored to win the heavily Democratic, predominately black 2<sup>nd</sup> Congressional District on the April 9 general election. A couple of Republicans have announced their candidacies, but the head of the state GOP says the party will not be picking favorites for the primary.</p></p> Sat, 15 Dec 2012 18:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/dems-fail-endorse-candidate-crowded-race-congressman-jacksons-seat-104404 Illinois lawmaker facing gun charge still campaigning http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmaker-facing-gun-charge-still-campaigning-104338 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP949227173631_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A veteran Illinois state senator <a href="http://www.wbez.org/illinois-lawmaker-released-bail-weapons-charge-104236">charged</a> with trying to board a flight with a gun and ammunition in his carry-on bag says he&#39;s the right person to fill <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-resigns-congress-103969">Jesse Jackson Jr.</a>&#39;s seat in Congress.</p><p>But his attorney acknowledged there is a &quot;cloud hanging over his head.&quot;</p><p>State Sen. Donne Trotter, who maintains he forgot the gun was in the bag, appeared in a Cook County court Wednesday in hopes a judge would dismiss the case. Instead, prosecutors, who will have to show he knowingly tried to pass security with the gun in his bag, were given until Jan. 17 for more preparations.</p><p>The delay could jeopardize Trotter&#39;s chances of getting the Cook County Democratic Party&#39;s backing Saturday when it endorses one of the more than dozen Democrats vying for the U.S. House seat.</p><p>&quot;You&#39;d have to be deaf and dumb to think it wouldn&#39;t affect his candidacy,&quot; his lawyer, Thomas Durkin, told reporters outside the courthouse. &quot;It&#39;s a cloud hanging over his head.&quot;</p><p>Trotter, 62, was arrested Dec. 5 when Transportation Security Administration officers discovered an unloaded .25-caliber Beretta handgun and ammunition in an outside zippered pocket of his garment bag during routine X-ray screening at O&#39;Hare International Airport, where he planned to board a flight to Washington.</p><p>According to a police report, Trotter told TSA officers he has the weapon for work as a security officer at a Chicago security and detective firm and that he did not realize it was in the bag when he packed for his flight. He is licensed to carry a weapon and has a Firearm Owner&#39;s Identification card, police say.</p><p>Trotter, who is part the Senate&#39;s Democratic leadership, was charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries a penalty of one to three years in prison for those found guilty. His lawyer called it &quot;an incredibly minor case.&quot;</p><p>&quot;He did not remember that he had the gun there, which happens thousands of times, I&#39;m told, at O&#39;Hare airport,&quot; Durkin said. &quot;I&#39;m also told that a lot of these cases are resolved without charging.&quot;</p><p>Speaking to reporters, Durkin and Trotter refused to discuss specifics of the case or the nature of the senator&#39;s security work.</p><p>The Chicago Democrat said he believes his 24 years in state politics makes him qualified to hold the seat left vacant by Jackson&#39;s resignation and to represent southeast Chicago and nearby suburbs. He called the district &quot;one of the most neglected communities, not only in the state, but in this country&quot; and cited his work as a state lawmaker in addressing health care, creating jobs and dealing with budgets and deficits.</p><p>On Saturday, he&#39;ll have to make that case before Cook County Democratic officials and answer their questions. Durkin, who might attend the endorsement session with him, said he hasn&#39;t decided yet how they&#39;ll deal with any questions about the legal case.</p><p>Trotter said the committee&#39;s backing is crucial.</p><p>&quot;This is a game of addition, not subtraction,&quot; he said. &quot;... So, certainly I would like to have the support of the Democratic slating committee.&quot;</p></p> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 10:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmaker-facing-gun-charge-still-campaigning-104338 Ald. Sandi Jackson: 'I am not resigning" http://www.wbez.org/news/ald-sandi-jackson-i-am-not-resigning-104331 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS5126_AP120309144885.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Alderman Sandi Jackson (7th Ward) said she&rsquo;s not resigning from her City Council position and she&rsquo;s not running for her husband&rsquo;s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.</p><p>&ldquo;My constituents are people who depend on me to be there for them and I will continue to work hard on their behalf,&rdquo; Jackson said. &ldquo;I intend to finish my term.&quot;</p><p>Her husband, former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-resigns-congress-103969">resigned last month</a>. In his resignation letter, Jackson acknowledged that he is under federal investigation for the first time.</p><p>Since then, there&rsquo;s been talk that his wife could potentially replace him in Congress. Jackson knocked down that rumor outside of a city council meeting Tuesday.</p><p>&ldquo;I really wish people wouldn&rsquo;t pay attention to rumors,&rdquo; Jackson said. &ldquo;This is not reality TV... this is real life.&rdquo;</p><p>She also addressed her attendence record in city council. Before this year, Jackson said she&#39;s rarely missed a city council meeting &mdash; but this has been a tough year.</p><p>&quot;I can&#39;t control when sickness happens,&quot; Jackson said. &quot;I don&#39;t think anyone would blame me for trying to be a good wife and trying to be by my husband&#39;s side when he was hospitalized.&quot;</p><p>Jackson said she hasn&rsquo;t decided who she will support in the special election.</p></p> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 17:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/ald-sandi-jackson-i-am-not-resigning-104331 U.S. Senator Dick Durbin doesn’t think Trotter should be let off the hook http://www.wbez.org/news/us-senator-dick-durbin-doesn%E2%80%99t-think-trotter-should-be-let-hook-104267 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/durbin.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said he doesn&rsquo;t think Illinois lawmaker Donne Trotter should get off easy for trying to bring a gun onto an airplane.</p><p>Trotter is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/2nd-special-election">currently campaigning</a> for the congressional seat once held by Jesse Jackson Jr.</p><p>He&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/illinois-lawmaker-released-bail-weapons-charge-104236">facing felony charges</a> after security at O&rsquo;Hare Airport found an unloaded gun and ammunition in his carry-on bag on Wednesday.</p><p>Durbin said he doesn&rsquo;t know how Trotter&#39;s case will turn out.</p><p>&ldquo;But we can&rsquo;t make exceptions because someone&rsquo;s an elected official,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This applies to everybody across the board. Don&rsquo;t tempt us, don&rsquo;t try to test the system because we&rsquo;re serious about safety on our airplanes.&rdquo;</p><p>Senator Durbin&rsquo;s comments were made during an appearance at a Christmas luncheon for the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago on Friday.</p><p>He also addressed the<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/activists-occupy-shantytown-federal-plaza-104241"> looming fiscal cliff</a>.</p><p>Durbin said he&rsquo;s confident Washington will come ot a solution in the next few days.</p><p>The senior lawmaker said Senate Democrats stand solidly behind the President.</p><p>&ldquo;The real difference is with Speaker Boehner and whether the House of Representatives will agree with the President for a bipartisan approach,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It has to be bipartisan in the Senate, if it&rsquo;s bipartisan in the House, we can get it done.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 15:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-senator-dick-durbin-doesn%E2%80%99t-think-trotter-should-be-let-hook-104267