Former Illinois State Representative Robin Kelly has won the Democratic primary race to replace disgraced lawmaker Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress. Her victory does not come without a bit of controversy, however. Kelly received a significant boost from pro-gun control ads run by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's super PAC Independence USA, leading to complaints that an outsider had bought the race.
Kelly, who is all but assured to win the April 9 general election, favors universal background checks and an assault weapons ban. Her nearest competitor, former one-term congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, the only white candidate in the crowded field, had earned an A rating from the National Rifle Association. Bloomberg's PAC poured more than $2 million dollars into an advertising blitz against Halvorson, who lost the Democratic nod to Jackson last year.
Kelly also received endorsements from Illinois congressmen Danny Davis and Bobby Rush. The pair endorsed her in part because of her support for gun control measures.
Jackson, who represented Illinois' second congressional district for nearly two decades, resigned in November after handily winning re-election and a months-long leave to seek treatment for bipolar disorder. Last week he pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges related to the misuse of campaign funds for personal use and faces years in prison. His wife, Sandi Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, also faces a possible prison sentence for filing false tax returns.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)