Robin Kelly, favored to win a Democrat-heavy 2nd Congressional District, urges residents to vote today in an election that mostly flew under the radar after the primary race.
It's Election Day in Illinois, but that may come as a surprise to at least some residents in a certain congressional district.
The 2nd District race between Robin Kelly and Paul McKinley has largely flown under the radar after Kelly handily won a special primary election in February, beating top opponents Debbie Halvorson and Ald. Anthony Beale with 51.9 percent of the vote.
Because the district is so heavily Democratic, many have considered Kelly's fate sealed. Even President Barack Obama publicly endorsed Kelly to replace Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned last year amid a federal investigation and health issues.
Still Kelly urges residents to vote today as she goes up against McKinley, a Republican community activist running on a campaign promise to protect the 2nd Amendment in Washington.
"I've worked just as hard in the general as I did in the primary but very much on a local level," Kelly said. "People need to vote no matter who they vote for, hopefully me, but they need to exercise their right to vote, that's just the bottom line."
Gun violence has shaped this race from the get-go with Kelly making her gun-safety views abundantly clear. She favors a ban on assault weapons, and during the primary season, she received millions of dollars in support from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's SuperPAC.
Even in her primary election victory speech, Kelly took aim at the National Rifle Association.
"You sent a message that was heard around our state and across the nation," Kelly told supporters, "a message that tells the NRA that their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end."
This isn't the only election happening today. In the greater Chicago area, 216 out of 273 mayoral and village presidencies are being contested, including in Romeoville, where Bears Legend Steve McMichael is hoping to unseat incumbent Mayor John Noak.
Cook County Clerk David Orr said early voting was up 52 percent across 993 contests with 2,688 candidates on the ballot.
Polls are open until 7 p.m.