Monday marked the filing deadline for candidate seeking to appear on the February 26 primary ballot for Illinois’s 2nd Congressional District Special Election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.
All in all, twenty-two candidates have turned in the petitions yesterday. Seventeen Democrats and five Republicans, who are hoping to capitalize on an opportunity to pull a seat away from the Democrats, will face off in the primary.
After the five o’clock deadline, the Chicago Young Republicans hosted a candidate forum in downtown Chicago. Two candidates, Lenny McAllister (pictured above left), a local conservative media personality and Paul McKinley (pictured above right), a longtime conservative activist against the Chicago Machine, were in attendance to discuss the issues facing the 2nd district and the country.
The session was not a formal debate but did feature a moderator with questions about why and how the candidates felt they were best suited to represent the 2nd district in the U.S. Congress.
McAllister pointed to his success in conservative media and relationships he has built around the district and in Washington. He stressed the need to "work together as Republicans to reintroduce the hopeless to the American dream." McAllister stressed the importance of getting people back to work, treating education as a national security issue and solving the national debt crisis.
McKinley is not your "typical" conservative candidate. However, after explaining to the room that he is an "ex-offender," he discussed that it is because of his experience he became a conservative activist and has been aggressively fighting the Chicago Machine to restore his community since. McKinley stressed his understanding of the tactics necessary to destroy Chicago Machine politics and the corruption between the Democratic Party, labor unions, and community organizations which work together perpetuating the problems of the black and white communities of the 2nd district. He also emphasized traditional family values are the key ingredient to reunifying blacks and whites under the Republican tent.
Three other Republican candidates filed petitions but were not present at the forum: Dr. Eric M. Wallace, a publisher of a conservative magazine called Freedoms Journal; James Taylor, publisher of the Kankakee City News Weekly; and Beverly E. Reid.
Among the seventeen Democrat candidates are Alderman Anthony Beale, State Rep Toi Hutchinson, and former Congressmen Mel Reynolds and Debbie Halvorson.
The complete list of candidates can be seen here. Stay tuned for upcoming coverage on the Illinois Special Election.
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