NDFA went down from our home base to the 2nd CD to hear several of the candidates make their cases.
Of the 3 whom the polls show as the leaders, Halvorsen did not fill out the questionaire and both Hutchinson and Kelly sent their campaign managers. Of the other candidates, we heard 2: Anthony Williams, a Lutheran pastor and long-time opponent of Jackson, and Patrick Brutus, a young career bureaucrat and first-time political candidate.
Williams went first. He proposes to combat violence with (among other requirements for gun-buyers) requiring them to get psychological screening, by pursuing straw buyers more vigorously, and by promoting expungement for criminal records of those who have served their sentences for non-violent felonies. He pointed out that young men who have once got into the criminal-justice system have little or no chance of getting an honest job thereafter.
Williams, uniquely among the speakers, opposes the proposed Peotone airport. He proposes a federal lottery which he thinks would provide a great deal of revenue.
Brutus has worked for the state Department of Transportation, both on the highway and the airport sides. He presently works for the City of
Chicago. His main topic is economic development. He does favor "responsible gun control."
Robin Kelly was represented by her (white male) campaign manager. He emphasized her long efforts for gun control, mentioning that her first bill in Springfield was on that issue (he was more concrete, but I didn't take the concretions down) was cosponsored by then-state-senator Barrack Obama. He answered several specific questions by saying that he hadn't discussed this with the candidate, but he could represent her as opposing the DOMA and the War on Drugs.
Toi Hutchinson was represented by her (white male) campaign manager. He characterized Hutchinson's recent conversion on gun control as sincere and pointed out the Governor Dean had a high rating from the NRA when he was governor of Vermont. He pointed out her emphasis on electoral ethics and on infrastructure investment while in the legislature. He reported her opposition to DOMA and to the War on Drugs.
Both Kelly (in the past) and Hutchinson (up to now) have been in the legislature. Their anti-DOMA stances were supported by votes on marriage equality and domestic-partner legislation at the state level.
The Peotone airport is a proposed third major airport for Chicago. It would be located in an area which is now the southern end of the district and was previously a major thrust of Cong. Jackson's tenure. It is heavily opposed by the people in the region where it would be built. It's been under discussion for something like 20 years. The argument for it is jobs. The argument against it is that it would bury some of the best farmland in the world and that it would bring congestion to the region. The region was redistricted into the 2nd CD, having been in the 11th up to the 2011 redistricting. Halvorsen, who represented the 11th for one term and lives in that area, has long opposed it.
The 2nd CD contains a significant portion of the South Side of Chicago. It extends south from there to Will and Kankakee counties. Very little of the land, but a significant slice of the population, is in Chicago. Many of the suburbs in southern Cook County are primarily Afro-American, as is almost all of the city portion of the district. (The exception is the "East Side," a white-ethnic area around the steel plants.) That yields a comfortable majority of the electorate Afro-American. With most of the scandal already publicly known, Jackson got about 75% in the general in a 3-way race.
NDFA is the Northside Democracy for America. Our targeted area is on the north-east section of Chicago, although we have members elsewhere, including in the 2nd CD. Chicago being Chicago, most of our campaigns have been outside our targeted area. Indeed, we have participated in the congressional election in the 11th CD, south of the 2nd.