2nd Congressional District: Kelly Cruises to Easy Win

Gun Victim Photos

Robin Kelly's election night party featured tables with photos of
Chicago gun violence victims. The photo on the far left is
Frankie Valencia, a DePaul student who was killed in 2009 after leaving
a Halloween party. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

By Josclynn Brandon
The Red Line Project

Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013

A message of stopping gun violence had been a key issue during the 2nd Congressional District's special primary election.

And theme continued in Robin Kelly’s winning speech Tuesday night after she secured the Democratic primary victory and took the next step in replacing Jesse Jackson Jr. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Kelly had 52 percent of the vote, followed by Halvorson with 24 percent and Ald. Anthony Beale with 11 percent.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Super PAC funded more than $2.3 million in TV attack ads on Kelly's main opponent, Deb Halvorson, and her pro-NRA stance. Bloomberg wasn't shy about celebrating Kelly's big win.

“This fight isn’t just about one election; it’s about an outcome,” Kelly said in her speech. “We won’t stop fighting until gun violence is no longer a nightly feature on the evening news.

“You sent a message that was heard across our state and across the nation. A message that tells the NRA that their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end. We are united in our mission to end the killings in our streets. We will do whatever it takes to end this epidemic of gun violence once and for all.”

Shortly after the race was called, Bloomberg's Twitter account posted this:


Less than an hour later, another Super PAC tweeted this:

Kelly will face the Republican primary winner in the general election on April 9. As of late Tuesday night, the Republican race was too close to call. Ex-offender Paul McKinley led with 947 votes; opponent Eric Wallace trailed with 925.

At her party at a Matteson Holiday Inn, Kelly faced her supporters with a speech that was filled with many thanks and a focus on the gun control issue.

While giving her speech, Kelly was surrounded by gun violence victims’ families. Camiella Williams was one of them.

“When I met her (Kelly) in 2008, I was concerned and overwhelmed with the violence,” said Williams. “I asked her some ways we could decrease violence.”

Williams lost her 15-year-old cousin, Porsche Foster, three months ago.

“When she told me she was running and violence was her platform, I told her I would support her a million percent, and I did.”

Kelly, 56, a former state senator, was a onetime staff member for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Her party Tuesday night featured many dignitaries, including Alexi Giannoulias, one of her former bosses, who had run for Senate in 2010 and served as state treasurer.

“I believe in her,” he said. “I love her and I think she’s done a great job defining the issues. Talking about economic development, job creation, better schools and the impact that guns have on all of those."

Halvorson, Beale and other candidates said they believed the Super PAC was a major influence in this election, but Kelly believes she would have won without his backing.

“I don’t know him. I didn’t ask him to spend the money,” Kelly said. “That was on him to do that, I have nothing to do with it.”

Knowing that she still has to win against the Republican primary winner, on April 9, Kelly said she isn’t taking this win for granted. She added that she will never forget what her supporters have done so far in this campaign.

“I’ll never forget what you did in this campaign,” said Kelly. “Know this, I’ll be your champion in congress like you’ve been my champion in this campaign.”

For Williams, Kelly already is a champion.

“She stood on her platform and told me that she’s going to make me proud," she said. "I’m here to say Robin Kelly has most definitely made me proud."

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