Debbie Halvorson is a white Democrat, a staunch supporter of The National Rifle Association, and an ex-congresswoman who desperately wants to represent the majority-black district vacated by former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
And she could win.
Some black Democrats initially considered Halvorson a longshot candidate, but in politics anything is possible and now folks are wondering if Jackson’s congressional district – which is 54 percent black – will see its first white representative in many years. Some polls show Halverson leading the pack by 16 points.
Jackson, who is under a federal investigation, stepped down last month citing health reasons and a special election has been scheduled for Feb. 26 so voters can elect his replacement. There are 16 other candidates running for Jackson’s seat, all African Americans, but some political observers say the black vote could spilt, which would leave an opening for Halvorson.
Next month’s special election comes as Chicago’s homicide rate hit 500 last year for the first time since 2008. The crime wave in the Windy City is spiraling out of control and some law enforcers claim that Americans have a greater chance of being killed in Chicago than U.S. troops do in Afghanistan.
Each of these Chicago homicides was the result of gun violence.
And it’s getting worse.
Chicago authorities say seven people were killed and six wounded in gun violence in one day just last weekend. Among those killed was a 34-year-old man whose mother had already lost her three other children to shootings in Chicago. Police say Ronnie Chambers, who was his mother’s youngest child, was shot in the head while sitting in a car.
After Shirley Chambers lost her third child to gun violence in 2000, she said she worried about her surviving son, Ronnie.