Guns and ethics were on the minds of voters, and both were main issues on the campaign trail, particularly as Jackson’s legal saga played out in federal court. He pleaded guilty to illegally spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items and faces prison time. The son of the civil rights leader is the third consecutive congressman from the district to leave office under an ethical or legal cloud.
Still, gun control became the top issue on the campaign trail, including at candidate forums and television ads.
Independence USA, the super PAC of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, poured more than $2 million into the race for anti-gun ads in support of Kelly and against Halvorson, a former state lawmaker and one-term congresswoman. Kelly supports a ban, but Halvorson does not.
“Gun control, we need it,” said retiree Angela Craig, an undecided Chicago voter. She had supported Jackson in the past but didn’t feel like she got enough time to weigh the candidates.
Jackson resigned in November after a months-long medical leave. He pleaded guilty early this month to charges that he misspent $750,000 in campaign money on lavish personal items, including a Rolex watch and furs. His departure created a rare opening in the district.