Robin Kelly wins Illinois special election

April 9, 2013

(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Former state representative Robin Kelly (D) easily won a special election in Illinois' 2nd congressional district Tuesday, capturing the seat once held by embattled Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr.

With 20 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Kelly, who led Republican nominee Paul McKinley 89 percent to 7 percent.

Kelly's fate was essentially sealed when she won the February 26 Democratic primary. With a boost from gun control advocates, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), Kelly cruised to victory in a crowded Democratic race, all but ensuring a trip to Congress. The overwhelmingly Democratic district includes Chicago’s South Side and extends into the suburbs south of the city.

A staunch advocate of gun control, Kelly favors a ban on assault-style weapons and universal background checks for gun purchases. She campaigned in the primary as a champion of stricter gun laws.

Jackson resigned the seat last November amid mental health issues and a federal probe into his use of campaign funds. He admitted in court earlier this year to illegally using about $750,000 for personal expenses.

Kelly represented the 38th House district in the General Assembly before becoming the first African American chief of staff to a constitutional officer in state history when she joined the office of then-Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) in 2007. She unsuccessfully ran for state treasurer in 2010.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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