Candidate Pool Widens to Replace Jesse Jackson Jr.

Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday set a tentative date for the special election to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned from his post last week citing health troubles and acknowledging a swirling federal investigation.

That means open season for anyone who wants to make a run for the 2nd Congressional District seat that Jackson filled since 1995. So who's in, who's out and who's still considering a bid? Here's the rundown.

Who’s In:

Debbie Halvorson. She officially threw her hat in Sunday night, saying the district needs someone "to be there hitting the ground running and making sure we bring back what resources we need."
Sen. Donne Trotter. He hasn't made an official announcement, but Trotter confirmed to several publications Monday he's ready to go.
Ald. Antony Beale (9th). The Chicago alderman appeared Monday to say he's officially running and that he formed a political committee to get the ball rolling. 

Who's Out:

Todd Stroger. Though rumors about a potential Stroger bid swirled right after Jackson's resignation, according to Crain's Chicago Business, the former Cook County president is a no-go.
Sen. Kwame Raoul told Ward Room by phone that he also will not run. “I’ve got a 14-year-old boy, 12 year old girl," he said. "Maybe if they were older.”

Who' Still Considering:

Sen Toi Hutchinson. She told Ward Room she will decide “in the next 5 to 10 days.”
Former State Rep. David Miller. He said by phone he will decide in the next week or so.
Rev. Corey Brooks. The "rooftop pastor" said he's still thinking about it. "I want to help support the president's agenda, and if I could do that then I'll definitely get in the race."
Sam Adam Jr. The former attorney for Rod Blagojevich said he won't make a decision until after the trial of Cook County Commissioner William Beavers.
Ald. Sandi Jackson. Will she or won't she?
Mel Reynolds. It's not clear yet what his intentions are.
Rev. Anthony Williams. The Dolton pastor almost immediately expressed interest in the seat after Jackson's resignation.
Marcus Lewis. He ran as an Independent against Jackson in November but has yet to officially announce a rematch.
Robin Kelly. The Cook County Chief Administrative Officer was among the first rumored to run.
Ald. Will Burns (4th). The Chicago alderman has not officially announced.

Polls apparently are underway behind the scenes. Insiders believe it’s going to cost at least $500,000 to mount a campaign, and candidates are already on the phone calling committeemen, suburban mayors and local business leaders to feel them out for support.

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