Robin Kelly Fights to Maintain Former JJJ Seat - NBC Chicago
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Robin Kelly Fights to Maintain Former JJJ Seat

Kelly took over Jackson Jr.’s seat last year



    Rep. Robin Kelly will fight for her seat once after filling the vacated position held by former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.

    She will face Republican candidate Erin Wallace in the battle for the Illinois 2nd Congressional District seat in the November elections.

    Last year, Kelly, 56, took over Jackson Jr.’s seat easily winning the special election in Illinois’ second congressional district which includes part of Chicago’s South Side and southern suburbs.

    She beat former challenger, Republican Paul McKinley, with 72 percent of the vote.

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    She had previously served as the chief administrative officer of Cook County. Before serving in Cook County, she was chief of staff to former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. She ran unsuccessfully to replace Giannoulias in 2010, losing to Republican opponent and current state Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

    In her previous congressional sprint, Kelly, a friend of President Barack Obama, focused on gun violence. In June, she issued a report calling for tougher gun law in the city and across the country.

    "My goal was to compile a set of rational, legislative and community focused remedies to end the epidemic of gun violence afflicting our nation," Kelly said. "This comprehensive report on gun violence in America is a call to action for Congress."

    Her current Republican competitor, Eric Wallace, also ran for Jesse Jackson Jr.’s former seat.

    Wallace founded political magazine Freedom’s Journal Magazine and later co-founded the Freedom’s Journal Institute with his wife Jennifer.

    In 2006, he ran for State Senate in Illinois’ 19th District and later served on the African American Advisory Board for the Republican National Committee.

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    This year, he’s hoping his goals for education reform, job growth, and immigration reform will bring him to a victory.

    Despite Wallace’s efforts, Kelly remains the favorite for the seat and an upset for the November election is unlikely.