Halvorson, Kelly, Beale Sprint To 2nd District Finish

Candidates vying to replace former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. made their final push before the 2nd District's special primary.

Polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday, but in-person absentee voting began Monday morning, sending three of the race's leading candidates onto the streets to win over as many voters as possible before the election.

Jackson Jr. resigned from the seat in November and pleaded guilty last week to misusing $750,000 worth of campaign funds. Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Chicago Ald. Anthony Beale and former Rep. Robin Kelly are considered the favorites to take over Jackson's old district, and gun control could be the deciding factor.

Despite being the target of ads bashing her record on guns, Halvorson came out on top of a recent poll showing she leads 21 percent to Kelly's 17 percent.

"I'm feeling great, but I don't believe any polls," Halvorson said Monday. "Some polls have you up, some have you down. The real poll is the people who actually vote tomorrow."

The ads, paid for by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Super PAC, criticize Halvorson's A+ rating from the National Rifle Association. She said Monday she'd fight for tougher gun laws if elected but stopped short of supporting bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

"What I refuse to do is put another law in place that bans guns that will harm the law-abiding citizens," she said.

Kelly has denied a link to Bloomberg's Super PAC, saying she's never met him.

"It's ridiculous," Kelly said last week. "I don't know him. He doesn't know me. I have not been in touch with him. You can't even legally be in touch with them. So it's untrue, that's all I can tell you."

Beale, on the other hand, said the larger issue in the 2nd District is jobs, not guns.

"That's how we're going to address the crime," Beale said. "We're going to put people to work and they're going to have something to do."

Beale touts his aldermanic record for job creation and promised ribbon-cuttings and ground-breakings if he gets elected.

"This race is about jobs," Beale said. "It's about nothing else but jobs."

In total, 14 Democrats and four Republicans are running for the seat.

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