Standing in front of signs that read "redemption" and "so he can finish the job," former Democratic Congressman Mel Reynolds announced Wednesday his bid to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in his old 2nd District seat.
Reynolds said it won't be an easy race to win but insisted his interest in the district is no joke.
"Come with me in the community. Let's just walk randomly and see what the reaction is," he told reporters. "We've done some polling, and our polling tells us it's far from a joke."
Reynolds served in the House of Representatives from 1993-95 but resigned after he was convicted of having sexual relations with an underage campaign worker.
He also went to prison after being convicted of fraud for concealing debts to obtain bank loans and diverting money intended for voter registration drives into his election campaign.
Reynolds admitted he made mistakes but said it shouldn't overshadow the work he did for the community while in office.
"I've said and I've said again, I made mistakes, but again, it was almost 18, almost 20 years ago."
He said he would not comment on Jackson's representation but said the district needs someone experienced who can start working right after the election.
"I believe the district has not in fact been served for the last six months," he said. "It needs someone that can go in right away and do the job."
Jackson was first elected to Congress in 1995 in a special election to replace Reynolds. He resigned last week, citing his ongoing treatment for bipolar disorder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.