Jackson Jr. Wins 2nd District Seat, but Will He Serve?

By Tyler Carter

PostedWednesday, Nov. 7, 2012

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. reclaimed his 2nd Congressional District House seat for the 10th term, beating Republican congressional candidate Brian Woodworth by winning 64 percent of the vote.

A large voter turnout in the South Chicago suburbs -- 80 percent and in some parts of the Cook County suburbs -- heavily favored Jackson, with more than 70 percent of the vote in those areas.

Jackson, who had not campaigned for the 2012 election and did not hold an election night party, has been missing from the House since June because of health issues. Jackson entered into the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for type II bipolar disorder. Weeks before the election Jackson re-entered in to the clinic for re-evaluation.

Woodworth has been frustrated with having a candidate that has not made an appearance through out the campaigning process to be re-elected.

“If Jackson is re-elected, we will continue to have no voice,” Woodworth said. “There will be no one to stand and advocate for the critical decisions needed to get our economy rolling and no one to negotiate for the need of the district.”

Woodworth’s presence was made in two of the counties represented by the 2nd District, Kankakee county and Will county. Voters turned out heavily for Woodworth in these two county with a 62 percent lead in Kankakee and ahead by 55 percent in Will County.

“A vote for Brian stands for integrity, it stands for change and it stands for the people of Illinois saying enough of dirty politics,” said David Holston of Will County. “Lets have some integrity in our state and government.”

If Jackson is put back in office, the state of Illinois is saying that they are willing to continue to put up with the politics that are already existing, Holston said. In doing so, integrity means nothing to the state of Illinois, Holston said.

Many of the problems that the 2nd District faces has doubters of Jackson wondering if he can fix the issues needed in these counties. One of the many problems that this district faces is the hard hit of the recession with jobs being lost. In Oct. 2011, Jackson proposed a $804 billion job plan, requesting that the federal government hire the nation’s 15 billion unemployed Americans for jobs paying at $40,000 each and relieving all the states and cities facing economic crises.

A concern that Woodworth and his supporters have with Jackson being re-elected is if he will be able to serve in office in January. Woodworth believes that if Jackson isn't healthy, a special election will be held to replace his seat. Jackson Jr.'s campaign finances are being investigated by the FBI, but reports Wednesday said the two sides could reach a plea bargain soon that could allow Jackson to keep the seat.

Jackson has until January, when work in the House begins, to see if he can serve. If the congressman decides to resign, Chicago will have to hold a special election to decide upon a new representative. The same special election that put Jackson in office when Rep. Mel Reynolds could no longer serve in 1995. A special election could cost the city nearly $1 million that would fall on to the responsibility of tax payers.

After Jackson’s re-election was announced, a spokesman from the Jackson campaign released a statement from the congressman expressing how elated he was to be serving in the 2nd District again.

“My deep and sincere thanks to the people of the 2nd Congressional District, I am humble and moved by the support  shown today,” Jackson said in a written statement. “Everyday, i think about your needs and concerns. Once the doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better everyday and look forward to serving you.”

Return to Election 2012Home page

Feedback: Contact the reporter via Twitter or leave a comment below.


Social | Video