Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Jackson Jr. Gets Commanding Win Over Halvorson

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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. addresses supporters after handily beating Democratic rival Debbie Halvorson in often bitter primary battle for his congressional seat on the South Side and nearby suburbs.

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Debbie Halverson's Concession Speech

Debbie Halverson addresses her supports after losing her battle to unseat U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in an often bitter primary battle.
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Jesse Jackson Jr. looked vulnerable enough at the beginning of the election season that former congresswoman Deborah Halvorson moved into his territory to challenge him for the primary nod. 

Jackson Jr. proved just how flawed that thinking was with a victory a commanding election night victory over Halvorson for the second district. 

As of 11 p.m, with 81 percent of precincts reporting, Jackson led Halvorson 71 percent to 29 percent, all but assuring him another two years in Congress. Halvorson conceded the race.

The cracks in Jackson's campaign armor weren't difficult to see.

He played a major role in the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich, and actually testified at the trial. Blagojevich's brother Rob has hinted that there's more to the tale about Jackson, too. 

The Blagojevich trial was actually something of a reprieve for Jackson Jr. who had been under investigation from a House ethics committee about  his alleged involvement with Blagojevich and the coveted prize of a U.S. Senate seat.

The Office of Congressional Ethics suspended the inquiry per the request of federal authorities so as to not interfere with the Blagojevich trial. Now the trial is over and OCE is dusting off the 2009 case and going back to work on the investigation.

Halvorson went after his weaknesses with aplomb. 

"All I hear everywhere I go that he's gone, that he's been in hiding for over three years," Halvorson said during an interview with Ward Room. "I think he's spending too much time with his lawyers."

Jackson countered her attacks by accusing her of not supporting President Barack Obama -- a barb that stings in the district where Obama is highly popular. 

In fact, Jackson bet big on the Obama brand. The 2nd District congressman created a billboard that photoshopped Obama and Jackson Jr. together. He also ran television advertisements, and hosted press conferences and media availabilities that touted his ties to the president. 

In the end, it was a strategy that worked. 

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