Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

JJJ's Opponents: Show Up or Drop Out

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Jesse Jackson Jr. has been absent from Congress since June. He's not campaigning and his office isn't taking calls.

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Election Day is five weeks away, and there's still no sign of Jesse Jackson Jr. That's got his opponents in the race growing increasingly frustrated.

"I’m putting out a demand that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. needs to come out of his house, come out of hiding," said Marcus Lewis, and Independent candidate running against the incumbent in the race for the 2nd Congressional seat. "We gave him 113 days, even prayed for him. You don’t wish bad on nobody, but we have an election."

Kevin Lampe, a spokesman for the Jackson campaign, said Jackson has not yet been cleared by his doctors.

In June, Jackson’s staff announced he was taking a medical leave, and later in August it was revealed he was at the Mayo Clinic being treated for bipolar disorder.

The congressman’s father, Rev. Jesse Jackson, said Monday that the focus remains on his son's health.

 

He said he’s grateful for the ongoing support from the public and "we are still soliciting their prayers."

 

Rev. Jackson won’t take questions about speculation that Jackson will resign after Election Day and force a special election. The theory is that a special election, rather than a selection by the Democratic power brokers, may benefit a candidate the Jacksons favor.

 

There are a Republican candidate, Brian Woodworth, and a write-in candidate as well.

 

The congressman’s wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, declined Monday to respond to repeated questions about her husband. She has not participated in a city council meeting since June, but there is a meeting this Wednesday.

 

As for the November election, early voting begins in Illinois on Oct. 22.

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