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Illinois: Speculation Increases Over Special Election for Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s Seat

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Special election speculation swirled this weekend amid reports that Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. could resign his seat as part of a plea deal with federal investigators.

CBS Chicago reported Jackson has not pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, but he’s discussing a deal that includes his resignation by the end of the year, plus some jail time.

Possible Democratic candidates who would run to succeed Jackson include Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly and state Sens. Toi Hutchinson and Napoleon Harris, a former linebacker for Northwestern University, according to several Illinois sources.

But Jackson might try to keep the seat in his family. The congressman’s wife, Alderwoman Sandi Jackson, could run. Jackson’s brother, activist Jonathan Jackson, has also been reported as a possible candidate.

Illinois law dictates the governor must announce a special election date within five days after the vacancy occurs. The special election must be held within 115 days.

Jackson’s district stretches from urban Chicago to the corn fields of Kankakee. It’s one of the most Democratic districts in the country, and voters there elected President Barack Obama with 82 percent in 2008.

Jackson received 63 percent of the vote in the redrawn district last week, despite his troubles. He has held the seat since 1995.

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