Who could fill Jackson Jr.’s vacated seat? - KMSP-TV

Who could fill Jackson Jr.’s vacated seat?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The campaign to fill Jackson's Congressional seat is already beginning.

Cook County Clerk David Orr addressed the need for a special primary and general election in the 2nd Congressional District Wednesday afternoon. By law, Gov. Pat Quinn has 5 days to schedule a special election, and that election must happen within 115 days of the vacancy.

SEE: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns from Congress

That special election will elect Jackson's replacement. The City of Chicago and three other counties that comprise the 2nd District must vote on that replacement. Orr also said the three counties - suburban Cook, Will and Kankakee counties - already have primary and general elections scheduled for Feb. 26, 2013 and April 9, 2013, respectively.

In order to save anywhere from $700,000-$1 million, Orr hopes to get permission from the federal courts to compress the election schedule. Perhaps, he said, to cut out the 90 days required for petitioning or a number of days necessary for challenges to those petitions. He also hopes the special election can be incorporated into the existing elections for those three counties, and only need to set up a new primary and general election for the City of Chicago - which could take place in March.

Orr also wants to make sure all voters in the 2nd District are represented and that turnout is pumped up more than what is normally seen in a special election.

A member of Congress gets $174,000 a year, with gold-plated benefits. So, who could run for Jackson's seat?

Todd Stroger said it's been tough to find full-time work since his scandal-scarred tenure at the Cook County Building.

Others are also preparing to run, but they kept a low profile on what was a mournful occasion for many in the community.

Congressmen Danny Davis and Bobby Rush said the resignation of Jesse Jackson, Jr., was a loss not only for the South Side but the whole nation.

"We think that it's an unfortunate and sad day," Bobby Rush said at a press conference Wednesday.

Offering a distinctly different view was a candidate who lost to Jackson in this year's Democratic primary. When Deb Halvorson complained about the federal investigations that have now ended Jackson's career, he denied any wrongdoing.

"I hate to use the word ‘lie,' But every step of the way, every time he said something, it turned out not to be the case," Halvorson said.

Former Rep. Halvorson is just one of nearly a dozen potential candidates considering a campaign to fill Jackson's seat on Capitol Hill. Among them: 4th Ward Ald. Will Burns, 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale, State Senator-elect Napoleon Harris, former Rod Blagojevich defense lawyer Sam Adam, Jr.; and at least four current or former state legislators: Toi Hutchinson, Donne Trotter, Robin Kelly and David Miller.

Congressman Bobby Rush signaled that he might try to persuade some of the would-be candidates to stay out of the contest. Rush has frequently tried, in recent years without much success, to persuade African-American leaders to anoint a so-called "consensus black candidate" for key offices.

"So, I would just call upon anyone who has any intention of running," Rush said. "Cool your jets. Don't allow your blind ambition to blind you to the real needs of the people."

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