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Quinn proposes April 9 Election for Jackson Seat

By Ted Cox | November 26, 2012 12:27pm | Updated on November 26, 2012 3:21pm
 Gov. Pat Quinn, shown at this summer's Democratic National Convention, on Monday proposed April 9, 2013 as the special election date to replace U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Gov. Pat Quinn, shown at this summer's Democratic National Convention, on Monday proposed April 9, 2013 as the special election date to replace U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
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Joe Raedle

CHICAGO — Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday proposed April 9 as the date for a special election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress.

However, that date — which would coincide with already scheduled local general elections — would require approval by the state Legislature.

Quinn set Feb. 26 as the primary date for the contest to replace Jackson, who resigned last week for what he called health reasons.

The Legislature needs to OK Quinn's proposed general election date because Illinois law requires the special election to be held within 115 days of the governor's setting of the election. Quinn also set March 19 as a backup date in case legislators won't go along with the April 9 date.

Quinn's aim is to save money by coordinating the Congressional election dates with local elections.

"By holding the special primary and general elections on the same days as existing contests, we can save significant taxpayer dollars and ensure the people of the 2nd District can make their voices heard," said Quinn.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson will run to fill the Congressional seat vacated by Jackson, saying Monday, "I'm the only one who can hit the ground running."

A number of present and past local politicians and other notable names are reportedly interested in the seat.

Halvorson, who was defeated by Jackson in this year's primary, served Illinois' 11th Congressional District from 2009 to 2011. Halvorson touted that experience and her 12 years in the Illinois state Senate in announcing her run.

Halvorson joins a pack of names being floated including Chicago attorney Sam Adams Jr., Chicago Alds. William Burns (4th) and Anthony Beale (9th) and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields).

Halvorson dismissed the possibility that Democratic Cook County ward committeemen could throw their weight behind a single candidate with an endorsement. "This is the people's seat," Halvorson said. "The people need to be involved in the process and not allow a select few to make a decision."

In the primary against Jackson, Halvorson, 54, captured about 24 percent of the vote to Jackson's 58 percent. She recently published a book chronicling her time in politics called Playing Ball with the Big Boys.

Quinn said he was aiming to set election dates that would be "fair to the electorate and as economical as possible for taxpayers."

Cook County Clerk David Orr has said that a special election on any other days could cost $1 million.

Adam said Monday he'll delay any announcement until after he defends Cook County Commissioner William Beavers (D-Chicago) in a federal corruption trial. The trial begins next Monday and is expected to last two weeks.

"I have not had the time to really analyze this," Adam said. "My concern first and foremost is to my client.

"As soon as that's over, I plan on making an announcement," Adam added. "But I can't do anything until I'm done with that."

Corey Brooks, who earned the moniker "Rooftop Pastor" for his 94-day rooftop vigil on top of a former Super Motel, told NBC Chicago he's also considering a run for the troubled former congressman's seat.

Jackson has been in and out of the Mayo Clinic, reportedly receiving treatment for bipolar disorder. Jackson is also under an FBI investigation for his use of campaign funds.

The district stretches from the South Side through the south suburbs to Will County and Kankakee County.