Debbie Halvorson Splits from Democrats on AR-15 Ban in Race for Jesse Jr.'s Seat

There’s little difference in the talking points of the 17 democratic candidates in the special election for former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s, 2nd district seat. But candidate and former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson abandoned her left-wing counterparts at a candidate forum this past Sunday when asked whether she supported an assault weapons ban.

Halvorson joined Republican candidate Paul McKinley, the only other pro-second amendment candidate at the forum, by issuing a flat-out “no” when asked about banning the AR-15 rifle.

In a race that most Chicago media has previously declared to be a guaranteed hold for the Democrats, is a pro-Second Amendment stance the key ingredient to emerging on top of the 17-candidate Democrat primary field?

ABC 7 Chicago’s political reporter and forum moderator Charles Thomas found Halvorson’s stance on to be the most interesting dynamic to come from the forum. Thomas told Breitbart News, “I thought the most interesting thing [in the forum] was Debbie Halvorson’s answer that she would not ban a AR-15 Bushmaster, the kind of weapon that was used in Newtown.” He continued in seeming disbelief, “She said she wouldn’t ban that weapon, so she’s not with the president on that.”

Politico was quick to point out, however, this may be a winning strategy for Halvorson, the only white candidate on the ballot in a heavily black district:

At first glance, Debbie Halvorson should have no business winning the Feb. 26 special election. The former Democratic congresswoman was crushed by Jackson in a primary last year. She’s a white Democrat seeking to represent a district in which 54 percent of voters are African-American.

And she’s an unapologetic Second Amendment backer — with endorsements from the NRA in two of her previous congressional campaigns — despite an outpouring of concern among voters and her campaign rivals about gun violence.

Yet there’s reason to think Halvorson could eke out a win. She is a known entity in much of the district thanks to her time in Congress and earlier rise to state Senate majority leader — the first woman to hold the post. Sixteen other candidates are vying for the Democratic nod, and all of her formidable competitors are African-American. That creates a possibility that the black vote will splinter, opening a path for Halvorson.

Politico’s analysis makes perfect sense, and the fact that David Axelrod tweeted the article out indicates that he also sees the potential for her strategy to be a winning one—at least for the Democratic primary. It also shows Axelrod and his buddies are paying attention to this federal election, for which the primary will be held on February 26.

Halvorson’s position as a candidate with a strong organization and money to conduct polling, and the promotion of this distinction by Axelrod indicates it is most likely, in fact, a strong conservative issue, and that the district is not as blue as the Chicago media have been leading the voters to believe.

On Monday, NBC 5 Chicago called the GOP primary “meaningless,” but, with each the GOP candidates on the ballot being black, and Halvorson’s calculation to stand by her past pro-Second Amendment positions, a whole new dynamic is likely to emerge in the 2nd district race. The choice for voters would be a white Democrat or a black Republican.


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