* If there is a “media darling” in the 2nd Congressional District race it’s probably Sen. Toi Hutchinson. For instance…
After what she called a nine-week-long “struggle”, Preckwinkle decided to endorse south suburban State Senator Toi Hutchinson.
“I had a difficult decison to make. I made it. I’m supporting Toi because I think she’s the best and strongest candidate,” Preckwinkle said.
Hutchinson was excited about the high-profile endorsement.
“It means so very much to me. I know that you’ve given a tremendous thought to this decision. You went through a process and I am so very grateful for your support,” Hutchinson said.
Snubbing a loyal one-time staffer, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Monday she’ll use her political muscle to push state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) to the front of a crowded pack of Democrats running for Jesse Jackson Jr.’s old congressional seat.
At a Monday afternoon news conference in downtown Chicago, Preckwinkle stood next to Hutchinson and told reporters it wasn’t an easy decision, considering her former chief administrative officer, Robin Kelly, is also among the 17 Democrats in the race to win the South Side and south suburban 2nd Congressional District.
Oh, please. This has been a foregone conclusion for months. One big reason…
Preckwinkle said that she and Hutchinson share many commonalities — they’re both parents and former teachers. They also use the same powerhouse political consultant, Ken Snyder, who once worked for David Axelrod.
* Mark Brown, however, broke from the pack after Hutchinson’s performance yesterday…
Hutchinson of Olympia Fields continued Monday to sidestep questions about what she did to earn high marks from the National Rifle Association in prior elections as she tries to re-position herself from a gun rights to a gun safety candidate — or maybe to have it both ways.
The NRA’s endorsement served Hutchinson well in her election to the state Senate from a far south suburban district that includes parts of Will and Kankakee counties but now looms as a potential liability in the Democratic race for the seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr. amid a national conversation about gun violence.
Instead of answering a reporter’s direct question about her high rating from the NRA (A- in 2010), Hutchinson retreated to her campaign talking points about how she is co-sponsoring state legislation introduced in the fall session that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, the same position now embraced by President Barack Obama as part of his effort to combat gun violence. […]
In her 2010 campaign, Hutchinson made clear her support for gun rights.
“The 2nd Amendment gives an American the right to bear arms to protect themselves and their property. Law-abiding citizens don’t need any more infringements on their constitutional right to protect their families and their property,” she stated in a news release that included a quote from the executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association praising her as the “type of advocate for 2nd Amendment rights that the 40th district needs.”
But now she only wants to talk about the assault weapons ban.
Even Preckwinkle was a little short on straight talk as she tried to square her own past “F” rating from the NRA with her endorsement of Hutchinson.
“I looked at where Toi is now” on gun issues, Preckwinkle told me in a phone interview, avoiding the issue of where Hutchinson had been previously.
* But Preckwinkle stood her ground…
Preckwinkle, a former Chicago alderman who’s banged the drum about stricter gun-control laws, said she’ll shield Hutchinson from criticism on gun control: “I will vocally defend her against attacks from opponents” on the issue.
* Meanwhile, Robin Kelly announced endorsements from three state Senators today. From a press release…
A group of three state Senators including Senator Donne Trotter, who was a candidate for the Second Congressional district, today endorsed Robin Kelly for Congress. In addition to Senator Trotter, Senator Kwame Raoul, and Majority Whip Mattie Hunter also endorsed the campaign today.
“Robin Kelly is my choice for Congress because she has a clear vision for our future,” Senator Donne Trotter said. “Robin has personally been through the economic struggles that too many are facing right now, and come out the other side. We can count on Robin Kelly to fight for us every single day because she knows firsthand what it is like, and that is why I am endorsing her.”
“Robin Kelly is the best choice for our next Congresswoman,” State Senator Kwame Raoul said. “She is the only candidate that has the track record, leadership skills and relationship with our President to begin making progress on day one. I look forward to working with her.”
“I’m supporting Robin because she’s the best candidate to help get guns off our streets. I’ve examined the NRA records of the other major candidates and I’m proud to be supporting Robin Kelly, a candidate who got an ‘F’ from the NRA and has put forward a sensible pledge to reduce gun violence,” Senator Hunter said.
Robin Kelly is the only candidate to have issued a five-point pledge to get assault weapons and high capacity magazines off the streets of Chicago and the Southland, as well as making sure that Illinois’ conceal and carry ban stays in effect. You can read her full pledge at RobinKellyPledge.com.
She previously announced the endorsements of Aldermen Will Burns (Ward 4), Leslie Hairston (Ward 5) and Deborah Graham’s (Ward 29), and Dr. Cheryl Whitaker who serves as her Campaign Chair.
Notice two things here: 1) Sen. Hutchinson still has no state Senators on her endorsement list; and 2) Ald. Burns and Sen. Raoul were both considered Preckwinkle allies until fairly recently.