Isaac Hayes, 36, is running for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District against Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Hayes’s has been campaigning since August 2009, but he suddenly got local and national attention after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Jackson had tried to make a donation to Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate, and had cavorted with a blonde waitress from D.C. Ward Room spoke with Hayes, who lives in Park Forest and works an associate minister at Chicago’s Apostolic Church of God.
Q: How has your campaign changed since the Sun-Times ran that story on Jesse Jackson Jr.?
A: I just heard a gentleman on Fox News, Dick Morris, who’s a pollster, say that Illinois is a race that’s competitive, that my race is competitive. The national spotlight is now focusing on the 2nd District of Illinois, and Michael Steele’s visit on Oct. 15 will certainly bring much-needed attention.
Q: What about locally?
A: Jackson Jr.’s really damaged himself with Christian voters, people who value character. From day one, I’ve campaigned on the platform that we need someone who has the honesty and integrity to represent us in Washington, and clearly, he doesn’t have the character to do that.
Q: You are going to be at the Chicago Tea Party event on Oct. 6. How closely is your campaign aligned with the Tea Party?
A: My campaign isn’t aligned with the Tea Party. Certainly, I’ve spoken to different groups. In terms of the Tea Party, I share their commitment to lower taxes, limited government, liberty, those basic principles that in some regard the president has talked about during his campaign.
Q: You grew up in Woodlawn, a traditionally Democratic enclave. So why did you become a Republican?
A: Two reasons. My dad’s a minister. I’m a minister. As I began to look at my position on the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, I saw inconsistencies between the Democratic Party’s platform, and so I couldn’t support a party that endorsed those two items.