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At least seven well-known Democrats will run in next year’s special primary for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat on the south side of Chicago.

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly kicked off her campaign for the 2nd District over the weekend, joining six Democrats already in the race: Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Alderman Anthony Beale, former Rep. Mel Reynolds, former NFL Linebacker Napoleon Harris, state Sen. Donne Trotter and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson.

Two other potential candidates declined bids recently: Rev. Corey Brooks and Alderman Will Burns.

The 2nd District is heavily Democratic, and the winner of the Feb. 26 special primary will most likely win the April 9 special election and join Congress. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation this weekend to schedule that April 9 special general election to coincide with local elections.

Democrats are concerned that the large field could yield an unpredictable result, so the local party has scheduled a Dec. 15 slating to try to focus support behind a single candidate. A key official in that process indicated to the Chicago Sun-Times that Trotter has an advantage.

Jackson resigned last month following reports that federal officials are investigating him for improper use of campaign funds on personal purchases.

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