Candidates Race to Replace Jesse Jackson Jr.

Days after Jesse Jackson Jr. announced his resignation from Congress last Wednesday, the race to replace him has become increasingly crowded.

Even before Jackson sent his resignation letter to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, potential candidates started popping up.

"Yes, I'm interested," said Sam Adam Jr., the attorney who represented former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. "To be honest, I would love it because I look at it as the ultimate voice for the voiceless."

Three hours after Jackson resigned, State Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields also announced plans to run.

Since then at least 10 others have raised their hand to be considered in Illinois' 2nd District. The list includes Ald. Anthony Beale, Ald. Will Burns, Sen. Kwame Raoul, former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, Mel Reynolds and Jackson's wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson.

On Sunday night, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson officially threw in her hat for the seat. She represented the state's 11th district from 2009-2010 but lost big to Jackson in the March primary, 29 percent to 71 percent.

"This is going to be a very short election," Halvorson said, "and we need to make sure that the day after the election, someone is going to be there hitting the ground running and make sure we bring back what resources we need for this district."

Corey Brooks, the man who became known as Chicago's "Rooftop Pastor," also said Sunday he's considering a run for the seat. Brooks held a 94-day vigil atop a former Super Motel to raise awareness about city violence.

"The same issues that a lot of people are facing -- the economy, education, violence -- those issues are issues that need to be addressed in a lot of the districts," Brooks said. "Plus I want to help support the president's agenda, and if I could do that then I'll definitely get in the race, but I haven't decided yet."

The list isn't likely to end there as other names pop up, such as Marcus Lewis, Jackson's outspoken opponent in the November race, and even Jackson's siblings.

Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday is expected to schedule a special election to fill the vacated seat, which must be filled within 115 days. The constituents of the 2nd district will be without representation until the seat is filled.

Meanwhile former Congressman Jackson Jr. has not been seen in public.

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