NRA ally Debbie Halvorson could win Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Chicago seat
A white ex-congresswoman with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association is the front-runner to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in a majority-black Chicagoland district with inner-city neighborhoods wracked by gun violence.
At first glance, Debbie Halvorson should have no business winning the Feb. 26 special election. The former Democratic congresswoman was crushed by Jackson in a primary last year. She’s a white Democrat seeking to represent a district in which 54 percent of voters are African-American.
And she’s an unapologetic Second Amendment backer — with endorsements from the NRA in two of her previous congressional campaigns — despite an outpouring of concern among voters and her campaign rivals about gun violence.
Yet there’s reason to think Halvorson could eke out a win. She is a known entity in much of the district thanks to her time in Congress and earlier rise to state Senate majority leader — the first woman to hold the post. Sixteen other candidates are vying for the Democratic nod, and all of her formidable competitors are African-American. That creates a possibility that the black vote will splinter, opening a path for Halvorson.
1. She was my Congresswoman for years, until redistricting
They added a big chunk of Will and Kankakee Counties to the district and she lost to Adam Kinzinger.
Now, the former Jackson district extends quite a ways south of the city and covers a lot of the same areas that elected her in the first place.
IIRC, the NRA and Illinois State Rifle Assn both donated heavily to all of her campaigns, something like $20,000 or so for the last one where she lost?
Plus she came out to events at the ISRA Bonfield shooting range on a regular basis and worked the crowds with her staff. Not a shooter that I can recall, but she didn't go out of her way to piss them off either.
Her biggest advantage though is she has a campaign organization in place and she came in second to Jesse Jr. in the last primary. The first real challenge he's had.