Quinn orders special election to fill Jackson Jr.’s congressional seat
CHICAGO – Chicagoans will be able to vote in a special primary election Feb. 26 for a possible replacement for U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned last week amid reports of treatment for ongoing mental health issues and a pending federal ethics probe into campaign spending.
Feb. 26 also is the date of local primary elections throughout Illinois.
Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday also suggested bumping the general election for the 2nd Congressional District seat to April 9 so that it coincides with the scheduled spring general election. The spring general election currently is set for March 19.
Moving the general election to April 9 requires a change to state statute, and Quinn said he is working with lawmakers to do so.
Local election officials in the district requested the date changes to cut down on costs. The special elections could cost upward of $5 million if they occurred separately, state election officials estimate.
“This special election will be carried out in a manner that is fair to the electorate and as economical as possible for taxpayers,” Quinn said in a statement. “By holding the special primary and general elections on the same days as existing contests, we can save significant taxpayer dollars and ensure the people of the 2nd District can make their voices heard.”
The heavily Democratic 2nd Congressional District includes precincts in Chicago and precincts in Cook, Kankakee and Will counties. The district has about 420,000 registered voters.
Jackson Jr., a Democrat, resigned Wednesday. He had been on a leave of absence for several months, reportedly for treatment of mental-health issues. He also was the subject of investigations by the FBI and the House Ethics committee into possible misuse of campaign funds.
Jackson held the seat since 1995, and voters re-elected him as recently as November, even though word of the federal investigation surfaced in October.
Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a Democrat from Crete, announced Monday she will run for Jackson’s seat.
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