With just eight days to go before the special primary to replace Jesse Jackson Jr., at least one candidate is dropping out of the race. Meanwhile, one candidate still in the Illinois 2nd District Congressional race says it sounds like a backroom deal.
Despite being considered a leading candidate, State Sen. Toi Hutchinson quit the 2nd Distrcit race and endorsed Robin Kelly.
“Robin is a friend, and has captured momentum in pulling our community together,” said Hutchinson in a statement. “I am simply unwilling to risk playing a role going forward that could result in dividing our community at a time when we need unity more than ever.”
Kelly has been getting support from a Super Pac run by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In fact, Independence USA SuperPAC has spent about $1.4 million on Kelly’s campaign. Recently, the Super Pac funded a campaign ad that criticized Hutchinson and fellow candidate Debbie Halvorson for supporting the National Rifle Association. Now, Halvorson is now questioning Hutchinson’s endorsement of Kelly.
On Monday, Halvorson offered as evidence a report published in the February 1 edition of Capitol Fax by a Sun-Times columnist. Rich Miller writes: “Robin has been running around for six weeks telling donors the key to her win strategy was Bloomberg attacking Halvorson and Hutchinson.” If Kelly knew about the ads, it would violate FEC rules, Halvorson said.
“All of this truly raises eyebrows and questions surrounding Bloomberg’s attempt to purchase this election. So if the report is true, the Kelly campaign must be held accountable for their part in violation of FEC rules with regards to Super Pacs,” Halvorson said.
“I think (Bloomberg) is endorsing what I stand for. He doesn’t know me,” Kelly has said. “I’ve had no contact with his Pac.”
WGN has reached out to the Kelly campaign for comment, and they have yet to respond.
Meanwhile, Patrick Brutus also dropped out of the race and endorsed Kelly, and Anthony Beale claims he is being bullied out of the race.
Fifteen candidates remain in the race. AARP is sponsoring a debate for the candidates in Matteson, Ill., later Monday.
The primary is February 26.