Jesse Jackson Jr wins, overcoming ethics questions, critics

There were other races in Illinois besides the Republican presidential primary and the rock ‘em, sock ‘em contest between Republican Reps. Don Manzullo and Adam Kinzinger.

Jackson wins big

In the redrawn 2nd District, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. not only survived a stiff primary challenge from former one-term Rep. Debbie Halvorson, but did so with 75 percent of the vote.

With substantial swatches of her old Will County district put into Jackson’s Chicago-based district and more than $200,000 remaining from her losing re-election bid in ’10, Halvorson (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 20 per cent) came on strong at first.  In addition, the Houston-based Committee for Public Accountability pumped $88,000 into anti-Jackson radio spots focusing on the incumbent’s alleged involvement with trying to secure appointment to Barack Obama’s former Senate seat from disgraced former Democratic Gov. (2002-09) Rod Blagojevich.

“Our polling showed that his unfavorable ratings were high and ethical issues were particularly affecting him,” Ellis told HUMAN EVENTS, adding that his group (which was profiled in the Wall Street Journal Monday) has spent about $88,000 on anti-Jackson salvos.

Jackson also had several leaders of the Chicago black clergy refuse to help him because of his public admission of an extramarital affair.  But Jackson (lifetime ACU rating: 2.8 percent) obviously didn’t need them.

The Tammy and Joe show

In the newly-drawn 8th District, the Republican House Member from Illinois considered the number one target of state Democrats will face a familiar opponent.  Tammy Duckworth, former Veterans Administration official, defeated businessman Raja Krisnamoorthi by a margin of 2-to-1.  She will now face Rep. Joe Walsh (lifetime ACU rating: 92 percent), the first “Tea Party”-backed candidate to win a Republican primary for anything in 2010.  Walsh, known for his verbal jousts with Chris Matthews and other liberal TV talking heads, moved to the newly-carved 8th when his former suburban Chicago district was cut into several parts.

Earlier in the year, Prairie State Republicans feared a second case (along with Manzullo-Kinzinger) of two of their own incumbents running against one another.  Walsh and fellow conservative freshman Randy Hultgren found their homes in the same district.  But Walsh chose the better part of valor, left the safely Republican turf to Hultgren, and opted for the new 8th (which has a Democratic registration edge).

Illinois Republicans under fire

The Democratic-orchestrated redistricting plan spells a lot of danger for Republican House Members in Illinois.  In the 11th District, former Rep. Bill Foster, who lost in a neighboring district to Hultgren in 2010, will be the Democratic nominee against veteran GOP Rep. Judy Biggert.  In the 17th District, former pizza parlor owner and Tea Party favored-Rep. Bobby Schilling, faces an uphill battle against Democrat Cheri Bustos, a former East Moline Councilwoman. In the suburban Chicago 10th District, made more Democratic by redistricting, freshman GOP Rep. Bob Dold is in a stiff fight with Democrat Brad Schneider, a businessman.

About the only Democratic-held House seat that Republicans have a chance of picking up is the 12th District where ten-term Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello is retiring.  Conservative Jason Plummer, the GOP’s 2010 nominee for lieutenant governor, is considered better-than-even money to defeat Democrat Brad Harriman, former St. Clair County regional superintendent of schools.