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Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday selected dates for the special primary and general elections to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in the 2nd Congressional District.
Quinn had five days to schedule the election to fill the vacated seat following Jackson's resignation last week. The seat must be filled within 115 days.
The special primary will be held Feb. 26, 2013, to coincide with existing local primary elections, Quinn announced.
The general election date was tentatively set for March 19 to comply with current state law, but Quinn said he is working with the General Assembly to move the date to April 9, to also coincide with local general elections.
Changing the date means a change in statute.
“This special election will be carried out in a manner that is fair to the electorate and as economical as possible for taxpayers,” Quinn said. “By holding the special primary and general elections on the same days as existing contests, we can save significant taxpayer dollars and ensure the people of the 2nd District can make their voices heard.”
Cook County Clerk David Orr last week expressed concern that a special election for the 2nd District seat could cost more than $1 million. He suggested using a couple of dates where existing election are already being held -- primaries in suburban Cook, Will and Kankakee counties on February 26 and the general election on April 9.
"We want to save money," Orr said. "We're talking about well over a million dollars in expenses if, in fact, we have to have the elections on different days than the scheduled ones."
The constituents of the 2nd District will be without representation until the seat is filled.
So far at least a dozen people have shown interest in the seat, from Jackson's former opponents Debbie Halvorson and Marcus Lewis to three Chicago aldermen including Jackson's wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson.