Democrat Robin Kelly claimed victory tonight in a low-turnout contest to decide the successor to former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in a 2nd Congressional District with a history of scandal-plagued representation.
With 77 percent of precincts counted, the former state lawmaker had about 73 percent of the vote to about 19 percent for Republican Paul McKinley, an unemployed political activist and ex-convict. The rest of the vote went to a Green Party candidate and three independent candidates who made the special general election ballot.
“Yes, we’ve seen some tough times and some setbacks. I know for some of you, your faith in your leaders is a little shaken,” Kelly told supporters at a Matteson hotel. “I thank you for that and I promise I will work very hard not to let you down.”
Kelly, who launched her campaign on a strong gun-control theme, was joined at her victory party by Nathaniel and Cleopatra Pendleton, the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old band majorette killed by gunfire on the South Side little more than a week after performing in Washington during President Barack Obama’s inauguration weekend festivities.
“Watch us take on the NRA, the tea party and anyone else standing in the way of safety,” Kelly said.