Jesse L. Jackson Jr. finds himself in an unusual position at the moment as he fights to maintain his place as a Representative in Illinois. Son of the famous civil rights leader, Jackson Jr. has won re-election to Congress eight times with almost no effort. Even in 2010, when he faced scandalous accusations about an extramarital affair and about his involvement in a plan to buy the Senate seat made vacant by Obama, Mr. Jackson rose to the top with almost no effort. He won 80% of the votes in the Second Congressional District of Illinois
This year, however, Mr. Jackson has met his match with Debbie Halvorson, a former U.S. representative. He is now faced with pouring a tremendous amount of effort into the primary today. Mr. Jackson has hired a public relations firm, he is running television and radio ads and he is appearing all over the place in Chicago.
As Bishop Larry D. Trotter, a pastor of Sweet Holy Spirit Church, said, “He’s trying to show another spurt of his ability in the community, but for some of us it’s a little too late because people are looking for something fresh and somebody they can count on.”
A bit like the Teflon man, Mr. Jackson has managed to rise above the scandalous allegations that have been thrown his way. He admitted to reporters that the poor press hasn’t helped him, but he said that he feels good right now about “rebuilding relationships” with voters. He has brushed off the reports of the extramarital affair, calling it a personal matter, although not denying it. He is still under investigation by the House Ethics Committee about whether or not he broke House rules; he has not, however, been charged with a crime to date.
As he said recently, “All that I am, I attribute to my wife. All I ain’t, I attribute to myself.”
We’ll soon see if he is able to attribute results today to himself or to his wife.