Handicapping the 2nd District Special Election

Debbie Halvorson, 2-1: Halvorson is the only white candidate, the only rural candidate, and has the most name recognition, thanks to her one term in Congress and her challenge to Jesse Jackson Jr. in this year’s primary. Her NRA endorsement will appeal to crossover Republicans. 

Toi Hutchinson, 7-2: A woman and a suburbanite, both important qualities for a district whose last three congressmen have been accused of sexual improprieties, and which now lies mostly outside the city of Chicago.
Will Burns, 4-1: The 4th Ward alderman and former state representative is the well-connected protégé of both President Obama and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Sam Adam Jr., 5-1: Bombastic attorney who won an acquittal for musician R. Kelly on child pornography charges, and a hung jury for Rod Blagojevich on federal corruption charges. Probably has a buttload of money, but with Mel Reynolds back in the race, might be hurt by having defended an accused pedophile.
Anthony Beale, 6-1: The 9th Ward alderman was a member of Jesse Jackson Jr.’s South Side machine, unseating former Ald. Robert Shaw with the Jacksons’ help. Can he win this seat without it?
Napoleon Harris, 7-1: The former Northwestern University and Oakland Raiders linebacker was just elected to the state senate this month, and hasn’t even taken his seat, but he already wants to move up to Congress. Owner of two Beggars Pizza restaurants, Harris is an ambitious celebrity politician, but doesn’t have a record to run on yet.
Donne Trotter, 8-1: The state senator ran for Congress once before, in 2000, as the third wheel in the now-famous contest between Rep. Bobby Rush and Barack Obama. He’s a gifted, experienced legislator, but younger black politicians look more exciting.
Jonathan Jackson, 12-1: Jesse Jackson Jr.’s brother is also national spokesman for their father’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The district may not be ready for another Jackson.
Marcus Lewis, 25-1: An outspoken postal worker who ran as an independent candidate against Jackson in November, winning 13 percent of the vote. But he has no money, no political organization, and has never held office.
Todd Stroger, 100,000-1: The former Cook County board president finished last in the 2010 primary, and is now trying to account for $500,000 missing from his campaign fund. Toddler won’t be able to step over his father’s half-dead body into Congress.
Mel Reynolds, 175,000,000-1: Reynolds held the seat before Jackson, but resigned after he was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer. He has a better chance of winning the Lotto than getting back to Congress.
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