Bobby Rush

Election 2022: Here's Who is Running in Illinois' 1st Congressional District

After serving in Congress for nearly 30 years, Rep. Bobby Rush made waves when he announced he would not seek reelection in Illinois’ 1st Congressional district, opening up a massive stampede of candidates to potentially succeed him.

In all, 17 Democrats are currently on the June 28 primary ballot in Illinois, along with four Republicans.

Rush has given his endorsement in the crowded field, giving his thumbs-up to Karin Norington-Reaves.

Here is the full list of candidates currently in the running for the seat, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.


Kirby Birgans

Birgans, a teacher born and raised in Chicago, says that he plans to work to eliminate systemic racism, promote programs that will help the working class, and to root out corruption in political office, according to his campaign website.

Chris Butler

Butler, a pastor who hails from Chicago, says that he wants to seek out common ground with political allies and opponents alike, and calls it a “bold commitment to values that transcend the politics of division” on his website.

Jahmal Cole

Cole, a community activist who founded the group “My Block, My Hood, My City,” is campaigning on a large platform of issues, including increasing the federal minimum wage, increasing investment in job programs, criminal justice reform, and passing Medicare for All, among others.

Jacqueline Collins

Collins, an Illinois state senator, promised in an interview with the Chicago Crusader that her campaign would focus on closing wealth gaps between Black and white residents, fighting against the proliferation of “ghost guns” in Chicago, and to increase job training programs.

Steven DeJoie

A banking professional, DeJoie told WTTW that he wants to pursue solutions to violence, mental health issues and homelessness in the 1st district, among other priorities.

Pat Dowell

A Chicago alderperson, Dowell has promised to pursue massive new investments in infrastructure, along with a strong focus on expanding voting rights, pushing for additional rights for Illinois workers, and immigration reform, among other issues.

Cassandra Goodrum

An attorney, Goodrum’s website indicates that she will prioritize affordable housing, expanded access to health care, and more funding for education, among other platform planks.

Jonathan Jackson

An activist and businessman, Jackson pledged to address public safety and to reduce crime in his introductory press conference to his campaign, according to the Chicago Defender. He also promised to focus on creating jobs and to invest in health care expansion, among other platform planks.

Marcus Lewis

Lewis, an ordained Apostolic Pentecostal minister, is in his seventh run for Congress, according to his campaign website. He is campaigning on ending COVID-19 mandates in the state of Illinois, and says he will be a champion for “civil liberties.”

Ameena Matthews

Dr. Matthews runs a non-profit and is a renowned “violence intervention expert,” according to her campaign website. She has pledged to pursue the Green New Deal, as well as to support universal health care and criminal justice reform.

Nykea Pippion McGriff

McGriff, a realtor from Chicago, says that she is running for Congress in part to honor the memory of her son Xavier, who was killed in a 2017 shooting. She has promised to fight against housing discrimination, improve accessibility in education and to push for criminal justice reform.

Robert Palmer

Palmer, a Chicago Public Schools teacher who has experience as a real estate broker, says that he will support efforts to make housing more affordable and to invest heavily in youth mentorship programs to combat gun violence, according to his Facebook page.

Karin Norington-Reaves

Norington-Reaves, CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, says that in addition to jobs programs for city neighborhoods, she will also push for universal basic income (UBI), as well as strengthening the Affordable Care Act and to fight against the proliferation of “ghost guns,” according to her website.

Terre Layng Rosner

Describing herself as an educator and an activist, Dr. Layng Rosner has pledged to run as an “independent Democrat” that will work to alleviate student debt, to cut prescription drug costs, and to support reproductive rights, according to her website.

Jonathan Swain

A small business owner who has also served a variety of roles in city government, Swain says that he work to direct investments back into the district to help regain economic ground lost in recent years. He also is proposing new investments in schools, health resources and more, according to his campaign website.

Michael Thompson Jr.

An attorney, Thompson has proposed significant new investments in education and job development programs, and also has proposed additional investments in mental health services and the development of restorative justice programs to help reduce crime.

Charise Williams

A graduate of the University of Chicago, Williams touts her experience in disbursing funding for both COVID-19 relief and violence prevention in the state. She has pledged to expand health care coverage, push for programs that will allow for enforceable gun trafficking laws, and to ease barriers to accessing funds for small businesses.


Eric Carlson

Describing himself as a “Constitutional Conservative,” Carlson is campaigning on promises to push for term limits for members of Congress, as well as tighter border security, lower taxes and full energy independence.

Jeff Regnier

A small business owner, Regnier describes himself as a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment that opposes gun control legislation. He also supports improved access to health care and increased investment in fighting gang violence on a variety of fronts, including more education and job placement programs in addition to additional support for police officers.

Philanise White

A long-time Republican strategist and former Congressional candidate, White was elected as the president of the Great Lakes Illinois Republican Women group. She has pledged to eliminate red tape at all levels of government, along with pushing for more affordable private health care options and to push back against gun control legislation.

Geno Young

On his campaign website, Young has pledged to push for an “America First” agenda. His platform includes a national voter ID bill, tighter border security and a “free-market approach” to health care reform.

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