Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Kelly Easily Wins 2nd Congressional Race

Congresswoman-elect to be sworn in Thursday

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Robin Kelly addressed supporters from a Holiday Inn in Matteson, Ill. (Published Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013)

    Robin Kelly will head to Washington, D.C. this week to become the next congresswoman from Illinois.

    With 92 percent of precincts reporting as of 9 p.m.., Kelly had earned 72 percent of the vote, trumping ballots cast for her closest challenger, Republican Paul McKinley.

    Robin Kelly Casts Vote In 2nd District Race

    [CHI] Robin Kelly Casts Vote In 2nd District General Election
    Robin Kelly voted Tuesday morning at the Matteson Community Center. She faces off against Republican Paul McKinley in the 2nd Congressional District race. (Published Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013)

    The 56-year-old congresswoman-elect, who replaces convicted former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., said she'll heads to Congress with a priority list that includes gun control and immigration reform.

    "Make no mistake, the road ahead will be bumpy. Making our families safe from gun violence is going to be a challenge,"  she told supporters at a Holiday Inn in Matteson. "Putting people back to work is a tough task. But, to those who say that we won't be able to make Congress do anything on gun control, who think this Tea Party Congress can't be beaten, I've got two words: Watch us."

    Robin Kelly Urges Voters To Cast Ballot

    [CHI] Robin Kelly Urges Voters To Cast Ballot On Election Day
    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. (Published Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013)

    She was joined on stage by the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teen who was slain as she took shelter from the rain in a south side part just days after attending President Barack Obama's inaugural ceremonies.

    "I am awed and inspired by the strength of families like the Pendletons and, unfortunately, far too many others, who are working to turn tragedy into triumph," said Kelly.

    Kelly will have big shoes to fill: Jackson was a 17-year incumbent who served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and brought home nearly $1 billion to the district. He also had strong relationships with mayors, activists and voters across the district that includes city neighborhoods, suburbs and some rural areas.

    Jackson resigned in November. He pleaded guilty in February in federal court to lavishly misspending $750,000 in campaign funds.

    Kelly received big name endorsements including from President Barack Obama and received a huge boost from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's super PAC, which supported her gun control stance. Also, the district is solidly Democratic and has been for about six decades. McKinley is an ex-con-turned-community activist who barely won his primary.

    Early estimates showed low voter turnout in parts of the district, especially the city. Tuesday's special election coincided with municipal contests in other parts of the state; Chicago held its municipal contests in 2011.

    Only 8 percent of city voters showed up at the polls, according to early estimates, with an expected turnout of roughly 12 percent by day's end. In the suburbs, the number was higher.

    Independents Elizabeth Pahlke, Marcus Lewis and Curtis Bay, as well as Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones, were also on Tuesday's ballot.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.