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Illinois: Cook County CAO Robin Kelly Wins Top Spot on Special Election Ballot

Democrat Robin Kelly hit the jackpot — sort of.

The 2nd District special election candidate in Illinois won the lottery for the top spot on the primary ballot.

It’s a small victory, but every advantage helps in a crowded field for what officials expect to be a low turnout primary Feb. 26. The winner of the Democratic primary will likely become the next Member of Congress from this heavily Democratic district on Chicago’s south side.

On Tuesday, election officials hosted two separate lotteries to determine the ballot order. 

There was a drawing for the first batch of five Democrats to file their signature petitions on Thursday morning. Here’s the order:

  1. Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly
  2. Businessman Clifford Eagleton
  3. Former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris
  4. State Sen. Toi Hutchinson
  5. Alderman Anthony Beale

There was a separate drawing for the last group of five candidates to file their petitions Monday in the final hour before the deadline. Health care executive Joyce Washington won the bottom slot on the ballot, which operatives also view as advantageous. Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson will be listed third from the bottom. Former Rep. Mel Reynolds will be sixth on the ballot.

But this ballot order could change in the coming weeks. In Illinois, candidates can challenge signature petitions to kick competition off the ballot.

Democratic candidates must file 1,200 valid signatures to make the special election ballot. The contenders are vying to replace ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who resigned in November.

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