2nd Congressional District: Halvorson Concedes Race to Kelly

Halvorson Photo

Deb Halvorson greets supporters at a somber election night party
(Photo/Angelica Robinson)

By Angelica Robinson
The Red Line Project

Posted: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

Just a little more than an hour after polls closed Tuesday night, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D) conceded in the Democratic primary to replace the disgraced Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s spot in the 2nd Congressional District.

Halvorson said her campaign team put forth a "grass-roots" effort but said it's clear that outside money -- namely New York City Mayor Micheal Bloomberg's  Super PAC -- played a critical role in the outcome.

"We all know it was rough running against someone who spent $2.3 million against me," she said.

Bloomberg's Super PAC spent $2.3 million in anti-gun ads that criticized Halvorson's position on gun control laws. The ads cited that the NRA gives Halvorson an "A rating" for her opposition to an assault-weapon ban.

Former state senator Robin Kelly built an early lead in the special primary election and Halvorson never challenged. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Kelly had 52 percent, followed by Halvorson wit 24 percent. Kelly moves on to face the Republican winner in the general election on April 9.

Halvorson said she called Kelly to congratulate her on the win.

"Tonight is about rallying around Robin," she said. "We are all Democrats."

Halvorson said the 2nd Congressional District has been without representation for some time, even before Jackson Jr. resigned. She said getting someone in there to work for the district is what's most important.

Tuesday's election suffered from low voter turnout, which could be attributed in part to a winter storm that hit the Chicago area early Tuesday afternoon. Less than 15 percent of registered voters in the large South Side and South Suburban district, which covers three counties, showed up to cast their ballots.

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