KENWOOD — Congressional hopeful Robin Kelly picked up key support this weekend, as U.S. Reps. Danny Davis (D-Chicago) and Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) endorsed her in the race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in the 2nd Congressional District.
Calling her "a real Democrat," Davis touted Kelly's liberal record and praised the time she spent as chief of staff for former Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
“Bobby and I have agonized and discussed the issues," Davis said. "We need the person who can carry the ball most effectively... and we were both amazed at how easy it was to reach agreement.”
Gun control was a big topic at Sunday's press conference, held at the Little Black Pearl Art Center in Kenwood.
“I am the only candidate in this race with an ‘F’ rating from the NRA [National Rifle Association]," Kelly said. "I could not be more proud. I don’t need to study more. I don’t need to take the test over. I’m proud of my ‘F.’"
Rush and Davis attended slain teen Hadiya Pendleton's funeral the day before, and said the way to curb gun violence starts with the people, not Congress.
“Some of us have been fighting gun violence all of our lives," Davis told DNAinfo.com Chicago. "There was this funeral on international television talking about how people are beginning to feel so strongly that we’ve got to do something about it. People are the determinants. Congress won’t determine things. People will.”
“The problem is not just a legislatively centered problem," Rush said. "We’ve got to change the hearts of these young men, while at the same time, we’ve got to have common-sense gun control legislation. One without the other is like trying to fly a plane with one wing. You’ll never get off the ground."
Rush praised Kelly's longstanding commitment to gun control, taking a subtle dig at candidates who have "flip-flopped" on the issue.
"[With Kelly], what you see is what you get," he said. "She ain’t going to switch in the middle of the stream. She’s not going to tell you that she changed her mind. Her mind has been made up for a long, long, long, long, long, long time.”
Rush took a brief moment to reflect on the recent passing of Cardiss Collins, the first black woman to represent Illinois in Congress.
“Today, we stand here… lifting up yet another black woman, the first once since Cardiss, to join us in the U.S. Congress,” he said.
Davis said he hopes Kelly joins him on the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Kelly responded with a rousing “of course,” noting she’d also seek a spot on the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues.
Kelly will accompany Rush to Tuesday’s State of the Union address in Washington, D.C.
The Democratic primary for Jackson's empty seat is slated for Feb. 26. It is widely speculated that whomever wins the primary will easily sweep the April 9 general election in the heavily Democratic district.
Jackson resigned the seat in February after winning re-election, citing health woes and a pending federal investigation.