Jackson rolls over Halvorson
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org March 20, 2012 11:16PM
U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson arrives with husband Jim Bush at the 5th Quarter before she gives a concession speech during her Democratic primary matchup against U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in Homewood, IL on Tuesday March 20, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) 49,590 71%
Deborah “Debbie” Halvorson (D) 20,016 29%
James Taylor Sr. (R) 5,192 36%
Brian Woodworth (R) 9,112 64%
502 of 568 precincts reporting
Dan Lipinski (D) 42,453 87%
Farah Baqai (D) 6,200 13%
Arthur Jones (R) 3,724 11%
Richard Grabowski (R) 20,035 59%
Jim Falvey (R) 10,119 30%
487 of 504 precincts reporting
Updated: April 22, 2012 8:07AM
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. easily advanced Tuesday in his effort to win a 10th term, dispatching Debbie Halvorson, who’d hoped voters in a reconfigured 2nd Congressional District would give her another shot in Washington.
Halvorson’s Election Night party at a bar in downtown Homewood seemed to die before it had a chance to get started. Early results had Jackson up by a 3 to 1 ratio.
With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Jackson had 71 percent of the vote to Halvorson’s 29 percent.
Halvorson contacted Jackson’s campaign about 8:45 p.m. to concede but wouldn’t hint at her political future.
“People can tell you that they want change, they want honesty, integrity. But yet no matter what it is, the party leaders still come out for people who are ethically challenged, and it’s not just Congressman Jackson,” Halvorson said, adding she was “happy for the outcome.”
Halvorson referred to the still-unsettled U.S. House Ethics Committee inquiry into whether Jackson offered to raise money for imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for being appointed to President Barack Obama’s former seat in the Senate. Jackson, 47, has insisted he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
Sandi Jackson, the congressman’s wife and Chicago’s 7th Ward alderman, said voters shrugged off the matter.
“People in their everyday lives, when it comes to elected officials, care about having someone who cares about the things they care about. That’s the economy, jobs, food on the table. That’s what they care about,” she told reporters. “This other stuff, no. It did not resonate.”
Kitty Kurth, a Jackson campaign spokeswoman, said the Blagojevich issue helped rather than hurt Jackson.
“Apparently, this is a lesson here for the media. Every time the media brought up Gov. Blagojevich and those issues and ethics issues, our voter base got more intense because they told us we’ve heard that before,” Kurth said. “That’s old news. What we care about are jobs.”
Halvorson, 54, served in the Illinois Senate for a dozen years before winning election to the U.S. House. She served one term, losing to Republican Adam Kinzinger in November 2010.
The reconfigured district takes in Jackson’s stronghold, Chicago’s South Side but stretches south to Kankakee and encompasses much of Halvorson’s old 11th Congressional District.
Halvorson had gained backing from several prominent black ministers — including Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church, who in past elections urged his congregation to support Jackson — as well as former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones.
Jackson secured endorsements from Gov. Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Obama, but he and Halvorson sparred over who’s been more loyal in Congress to the Democratic president.
Jackson’s longtime goal has been to see construction of a third Chicago-area airport near Peotone. But he also has proposed a massive $2.4 trillion public investment program, spread over six years, to shore up the nation’s rail lines, roads and bridges.
In the race for the Republican nomination in the 2nd District, Brian Woodworth, a criminal justice professor at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, appeared to have handily defeated James Taylor Sr.
Contributing: Jon Seidel,