With one week to go in the special election to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. in Illinois’ Second Congressional District, President Obama has chimed in and thrown his support behind the Democrat nominee, Robin Kelly.
While the president’s endorsement of fellow Chicago insider Robin Kelly is no surprise, the timing of his endorsement is.
Why endorse now, one week before the election?
It’s not as though Robin Kelly has been stirring up the crowds. In fact, Kelly has been almost completely absent from the campaign trail since she won the Democrat primary in a landslide on February 26. Her website has not been updated since January, and her staff has only bothered to update her Facebook page between February 28 and March 21 three times.
At the same time, Republican Paul McKinley has been building an army of supporters while he hits the campaign trail each day. From a trip to CPAC in March to countless new media appearances, his support is growing exponentially.
McKinley told Breitbart News that enthusiasm is high around his campaign, citing the example of a recent get-out-the-vote event where “more than 150 residents” of Chicago’s south side packed into a Monday-night rally.
Working with a budget of less than $10,000, largely the result of hundreds of grassroots donations, McKinley has turned the David-vs-Goliath story to his advantage. His anti-Chicago Democratic Machine message has translated across income, race, and geographic lines as he has used social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to speak plainly to the voters in IL-02.
Others are taking notice of McKinley’s success; supporters note that outside groups in support of the Second Amendment have deployed on behalf of McKinley, including Gun Owners of America, which today announced their endorsement of the pro-Second Amendment Republican.
Sending a message to New York City Mayor Bloomberg, who spent $2.7 million to secure the Democrat nomination for Robin Kelly, may have something to do with it, too. Kelly, when she has been found on the campaign trail, has highlighted her support of “banning guns.”
So far it appears McKinley has not only built a grassroots campaign based on deploying new media and old-fashioned hard work, but also successfully navigated through the mainstream media’s attacks launched against him for his past, including serving 20 years in prison before committing his life to “street repentance” and saving his community.
If it’s true that the Second District’s rural, suburban, and urban communities are coming together behind his message against The Machine, one might wonder, is Kelly a little nervous?
The presidential nod, just one week from Election Day, may signify a much-needed injection of life into her lackluster campaign.
It may also be a sign that “The Machine,” as McKinley calls it, is getting a little less comfortable about this special election.