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Jesse Jackson Jr. Crushes Opponents Despite Health Woes, Ethics Probe

By Wendell Hutson | November 7, 2012 2:25am
 U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-2nd Dist., was re-elected to a ninth term Tuesday despite not campaigning or holding an election party.
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-2nd Dist., was re-elected to a ninth term Tuesday despite not campaigning or holding an election party.
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DNAinfo/Wendell Hutson

CHICAGO — Despite his widely publicized health and money woes, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. easily defeated his opponents in Tuesday's race to keep his 2nd Congressional District seat.

As of 2 a.m. Wednesday, Jackson had garnered 63 percent of the vote to coast to victory. Finishing far behind in second was Republican candidate Brian Woodworth with 24 percent and Independent candidate Marcus Lewis finished third with 14 percent, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. Vote total for Rev. Anthony Williams, a write-in candidate, was not immediately available.

In a written statement, Jackson thanked his supporters.

"My deep and sincere thanks to the people of the 2nd Congressional District. I am humbled and moved by the support shown today. Every day, I think about your needs and concerns. Once the doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years," Jackson said. "My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better every day and look forward to serving you."

Rick Bryant, a spokesman for Jackson, said the congressman is currently receiving treatment for bipolar disorder at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, voters explained why they voted for Jackson despite his "baggage."

"He deserves another term. He has been a good congressman for 17 years and I for one hope he keeps running every two years," said Rev. Leonardo D. Gilbert at Sheldon Heights Church of Christ, which is located in Jackson's district on the Far South Side. "You don't bail on a guy just because he falls ill."

Janet Parks, 79, has lived in the West Pullman community on the South Side for 57 years.

"I was here long before Mr. Jackson was born. He's a sweet kid who cares about the community. That's why I voted for him," she said. "I know he has some problems but a man's good deeds outweigh his bad deeds anytime. And Congressman Jackson has a whole lot of good attributes."

Aside from health issues, Jackson also faces an ethnics investigation by the U.S. House stemming from allegations that he offered former Governor Rod Blagojevich money in exchange for a Senate appointment. Jackson has denied the allegation and has not been charged with any crimes.

While Jackson's support remains strong in his district, one Chicago alderman said Tuesday that it is time for a change.

"I am not a fan of Congressman Jackson. What can he point to in West Pullman that he has done? Absolutely nothing," said Alderman Carrie Austin (34th). "The only reason he won is because there were no other viable candidates running."

Austin added that she hopes Jackson's health improves enough for him to return to office by January.

"But if not, then he needs to step aside and let someone else represent us in Washington," Austin said.