On February 26th, the Democratic and Republican primaries for the special congressional election to replaced disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. were held. Robin Kelly won the Democratic primary with 51% of the vote, while Republican Paul McKinley held a 23 vote lead in a race still uncalled. The district is heavily black and Democratic, and the Democratic nominee is all but assured of victory in the general election.
However, three third party candidates have also entered the fray. All three hold left-wing views, and could potentially cut in to Robin Kelly’s support.
LeAlan Jones – the Green Party candidate. Jones is a football coach and journalist who produced award winning radio broadcast for NPR chronicling his life as a young boy in some of the city’s worst ghettos. He was the 2010 GP candidate in the race for Barack Obama’s old Senate seat. Despite polling as high as 14% in June, in November Jones received only 3.18% of the vote, or 117,914 votes. The Illinois Green Party has filed a lawsuit on his behalf against procedures for getting on the ballot (http://www.ballot-access.org/2012/12/27/illinois-green-party-files-lawsuit-against-procedures-for-getting-on-ballot-in-april-2013-special-u-s-house-election/).
Marcus Lewis – independent candidate. He ran against Jesse Jackson Jr. in 2012 and received 13.5% of the vote. His strong showing was likely borne out of Jesse Jackson Jr.’s prolonged absence from Congress and legal troubles. Jackson resigned about 2 weeks after the election. Like the GOP candidate, he criticizes the Democratic “machine” and corruption in the party that has such a stranglehold over city politics, especially in the 2nd district. He claims on his campaign website that “I should be Marcus Lewis Congressman-Elect right now had the 181,000 plus voters for Jackson had realized he was just pulling their chain and revealed he was plea bargaining before the election.”
John Hawkins – Socialist Workers Party candidate. The least is know about this candidate of all the 3rd party contenders, and he does not possess a campaign website. According to a December 2012 Ballot Access News article, it is not even know if he plans to obtain enough signatures to get a place on the ballot.