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Jesse Jackson Jr. Bristles at Debbie Halvorson’s Criticism

In an interview with Roll Call, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) chided his ex-colleague, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D), for bringing his children, ages 7 and 11, into their potential primary battle.

“I think it’s helpful when people leave people’s families and children out of political contests,” Jackson said. “People in my district are concerned about employment, they’re concerned about jobs, and I’ve been narrowly focused on that.”

It’s the first back-and-forth of what many insiders expect to be the most contentious Democratic House primary in the state next year. Halvorson and Jackson are longtime political foes, and a cutthroat primary will ensue if the former Congresswoman jumps into the race for this south Chicago district. 

Halvorson told the Southtown Star earlier this month that she’s looking at challenging Jackson in the redrawn 2nd district, which includes some of her former Congressional and state Senate territory. Halvorson scolded Jackson as being more of a resident of Washington, saying, “He doesn’t come home on weekends. His kids go to school in D.C.”

Jackson said that because of the schedule set by GOP leaders, he puts his children in school in the nation’s capital. “If they weren’t here, I’d never see my children,” Jackson said. “I want to see my children. It comes with the real estate, it comes with the territory.”

He snapped that “other Members of Congress have grown children,” perhaps a veiled swipe at Halvorson, a mother of four. Her youngest child has graduated from college.

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