Jesse Jackson Jr., son of racial activist Jesse Jackson, made headlines several times. In October 2011, Jackson Jr. announced that President Barack Obama should declare a state of emergency and just bypass Congress by using his executive powers to enact his job plan. Jackson Jr. went on to proposed a stimulus jobs plan that would pay an annual salary of $40,000 to 15 million Americans at a cost only $600 billion per year. He also proposed the plan would last 5 years, bringing to total cost to $3 trillion.
In 2012, Jackson Jr. found himself facing possible criminal charges along with his former fund raiser Raghuveer Nayak. Conveniently, Jackson Jr. disappeared from sight for couple weeks only to end up checked into the Mayo Clinic and suffering from exhaustion and bipolar disorder.
On November 21, 2012, just 15 days after winning re-election, Jackson Jr. resigned from the US House of Representatives, citing health reasons. State officials set a date of February 26, 2013 for a new primary election to replace Jackson Jr. and serve the rest of his two year term representing Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District. The district encompasses the southeast side of Chicago and surrounding suburbs, which are predominately black and Democratic and Republicans stand little chance of winning in a general election.
A number of Democrats quickly jumped into the ring, but by the middle of January, the race was largely between four contenders, one white, former US Rep Debbie Halvorson who lost to Jackson Jr. in last year’s primary) and three blacks, State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, former State Rep. Robin Kelly and Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale.
One of the major campaign issues in the primary is gun control and the ban on assault-style weapons. The anti-gun views of Hutchinson and Halvorson are apparently not strong enough for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Being the 10th richest person in the United States, Bloomberg believes he has the right to use his money to influence politics nationwide.
The Bloomberg political action committee launched a barrage of anti-gun commercials in the Chicago area that were aimed at Hutchinson and Halvorson. With only nine days left before the primary, Hutchinson succumbed to the pressures of the PAC and withdrew from the race. On Sunday, she threw her support behind Robin Kelly and issued the following statement on her withdrawal:
“I am simply unwilling to risk playing a role going forward that could result in dividing our community at time a when we need unity more than ever. In the wake of horrendous gun related crimes all across our country, I agree with Robin that we need to stand together to fight gun violence.”
Now the race is down to three people with only 9 days before the primary.
Halvorson said she believes that some kind of back room deal was made with Hutchinson to get her to withdraw from the race. She also said the district has had enough of the corrupt wheeling and dealing and that everyone involved should come clean on what really happened. She doesn’t believe that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg should be involved in Chicago politics.
Commenting further on gun control, Halvorson said she does support background checks for all gun purchases and the registration of all firearms. However, she opposes an all-out ban on assault-style weapons because she believes in the Second Amendment right to bear arms. She added that such a ban in Cook County has done nothing to prevent gun violence. Thus, she is also a target of the anti-gun smear campaign launched by the Bloomberg PAC.
This brings to the question: should outsiders be allowed to get involved local politics, such as funding campaign ads as Bloomberg is? I wonder how Bloomberg would feel if one of the 9 people with more money that he has, would decide to fund an anti-Bloomberg campaign in New Your City? As far as I’m concerned, I believe that politics in a given district, county or state should be confined to only those people who reside there or have businesses there. Outsiders should remain outsiders.