Jesse Jackson Jr. was elected to the U.S. House, defeating Republican Thomas Somer, a Chicago Heights lawyer, with 75 percent of the vote, in a special general election in 1995.
Somer dropped out of the 1996 race, leaving Jackson without a Republican opponent. Jackson won with 94 percent of the vote.
In 1998 and 2000, Jackson defeated Republican Robert Gordon with 89 percent and 90 percent of the vote, respectively.
In the March 2002 primary, Jackson won with 85.3 percent of the vote, defeating Yvonne L. Christian-Williams (10 percent) and Anthony W. Williams (4.7 percent).
Jackson was re-elected in 2002 with 82 percent of the vote against Doug Nelson, a Republican ward committeeman.
In 2004, Jackson easily won the Democratic primary, with about 88 percent of the vote, although he attracted three opponents, including former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds.