In Chicago on Tuesday, ex-legislator Robin Kelly won the special election to be the Democratic candidate for the seat vacated by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Jackson had stepped down, pleading guilty last week to charges of misusing campaign funds. “Tell everyone back home I’m sorry I let them down,” Jackson said. Under the plea deal, he faces up to five years behind bars, in addition to paying a fine that could range from $10,000 to $100,000.
Kelly beat former Democratic Rep Debbie Halvorson, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, as well as 11 other candidates. This was only the Democratic primary–the general election is scheduled for April 9th–but the district is so reliably blue that the party primary essentially determines the eventual holder of the seat.
Kelly was backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PAC: she is a leading advocate for gun-control. “As Congress considers the president’s gun package, voters in Illinois have sent a clear message: we need common sense gun legislation now,” Mayor Bloomberg said after her win was announced. “Now it’s up to Washington to act.”
After the Sandy Hook massacre, Mayor Bloomberg vowed to throw his considerable resources into backing candidates who favor gun control, trying to undercut the financial and political power of the NRA and make it easier for pro-gun-limits candidates to prevail. Tuesday was seen as the first test of the Bloomberg PAC’s power.