Today voters will be choosing a successor to former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. for the Illinois 2nd District in a special election between Democrat Robin Kelly and Republican Paul McKinley. The Illinois 2nd contains parts of the South Side of Chicago and some southern suburbs.
Though this seems like a typical Chicago election, there is one significant external factor: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Independent USA PAC, which supported Robin Kelly in the February Democratic primary.
Bloomberg, who recently pledged to endorse and fund candidates that support gun control, spent $2.2 million dollars for media attacking Kelly’s main primary opponent, ex-congresswoman Debbie Halvorson. This figure makes his PAC the largest spender in the race.
Halvorson, a former representative of Illinois’ 11th Congressional District, opposed an assault weapons ban and any prohibition of high-capacity magazines, warranting her an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. Bloomberg opposed her based on those policies alone, using the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School as leverage.
Halvorson lost to Jesse Jackson Jr. in the 2012 primary by a 71-29 percent margin. However, after Jackson left his seat for ethics violations, she saw another opportunity. Her probability of election increased greatly after state Sen. Toi Hutchinson dropped out of the race, despite her endorsement by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
But she couldn’t defeat Bloomberg’s media onslaught. Robin Kelly reaped the rewards of her five-point gun control pledge to: 1) pass a comprehensive ban on assault weapons; 2) eliminate the gun show loophole; 3) never accept support from groups that oppose reasonable gun safety legislation; 4) ban high-capacity ammunition magazines; and 5) support laws that prohibit conceal-and-carry permits.
A former state representative and chief of staff for the state treasurer, Robin Kelly won the February primary with 52 percent of the vote. Only 14 percent of voters came out because of a violent snowstorm on February 26, Election Day.
There certainly was no guarantee that Kelly would become the Democratic nominee with six other candidates in the race and a glaring non-endorsement from her former employer, Preckwinkle.
Robin Kelly faces GOP nominee and former convict Paul McKinley, a scrappy opponent with only a $10,000 campaign budget. McKinley used YouTube and social media to advance his campaign, and he even made a trip to CPAC 2013 to promote himself.
Unfortunately, his slim victory in the Republican primary (only 955 votes) and tacky campaigning (referring to Rahm “Caliglius” Emanuel and the Chicago “Machine”) in a solidly blue district makes his campaign a non-starter.
Representative Kelly will vehemently support any type of gun control legislation. Since Majority Leader Harry Reid removed the assault weapons ban from the Senate bill, the freshman will have to maneuver to remain relevant. Statements such as this one about conceal-and-carry permits evidence her complete opposition to the Second Amendment as an individual right.
But these opinions allowed her to win the backing of Michael Bloomberg’s money and largesse — and (barring divine intervention today) a seat in the U.S. House.
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://thespectator.com/world.