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2nd CD roundup

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* 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

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.

posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 10:33 am


  1. Mark Kirk and others have had similar challenges when moving from house to senate seats or from one district to another. What works in one campaign may become a liability in another.

    Why not embrace the reality of the previous stance? Bring out Otis McDonald and have him talk about who he is and why he fought so hard to have his rights to protect himself in his own home.

    Comment by dupage dan Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 10:44 am

  2. Preckwinkle changed her answer as to why she supports Hutchinson from yesterday (from “most likely to win” to “best and strongest candidate.”) I’m guessing Toni is being more honest today.

    Comment by Robert the Bruce Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 10:50 am

  3. Kwame was also independent on Toni’s candidate C. Mitchell. I’m not surprised he’s also independent here. Either Toni doesn’t expect her team to move in lockstep or he’s not really part of the team.

    Comment by Hammer Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 10:59 am

  4. Not comfortable with Toi’s NRA rating, but like many others around the country with good NRA ratings, Sandy Hook changed their positions. I suspect Toi will fit nicely in the middle on this issue should she get elected. Frankly, she’s one of my favorite State Sens in a chamber that needs more like her. If she’s elected, she will definitely be missed in Springfield.

    Comment by Chicago Cynic Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 11:01 am

  5. Demonizing the NRA is a short term political move. Running a campaign on it is short sighted. This a US congressional race, not an aldermanic one. Kelly is an extremist willing to call a legal organization defending a constitutional right an excuse for the massive gun violence which has occurred for years in the Second District. Short sighted extremists don’t lead. Especially when they make proposals that cannot realistically pass as new American law.

    The NRA gameswomanship here doesn’t address real issues a US congregational candidate should be addressing. It is a scam debate intended to give an edge among three very liberal Democrats who hold similar opinions on 98% opinions of the issues.

    Kelly’s willingness to ride an emotional political wave regardless of any basis in reality should be very concerning to voters living in the reality of the second congressional district.

    Comment by VanillaMan Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 11:47 am

  6. Every time Hutchinson pretends to be clueless on the NRA rating, “anyone but Toi” looks a bit more appealing.

    Comment by Formerly Known As... Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 11:50 am

  7. Endorsements today seem more significant as Senators Trotter and Raoul’s districts overlap 2nd CD.

    Comment by 2nd CD voter Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 12:03 pm

  8. ==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.==

    Duly noted.

    I understand it is part of the political process, but I wish everyone would stay out of everyone’s races until the General Assembly gets some major issues behind them. It is painful to see divisions when communities need our leaders to pitching their fates together.

    Comment by Dan Bureaucrat Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 12:38 pm

  9. too bad none of those endorsing Kelly have even one person knocking on doors or writing checks for her. Preckwinkle backs up her endorsements with contributors and volunteers. She’s morphed into a regional contender if the candidates are decent to begin with.

    Comment by Chitown Reg Dem Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 12:44 pm

  10. The facts are that Toi and Robin, strong candidates to be sure, have to fight within a large pool of other African-American candidates in a highly polarized District that is only 52% A-A, in a hyper-short primary cycle, in a District where Debbie not only has experience in the office, she has huge name recognition and basically the SW 1/3 of the District and much of its white electorate to herself. And she’s the only one among these other Jane-come-lately’s who had the stones to go up against J3 in the primary. Experience, name recognition, guts, and demographics are all hin her favor. One wonders what aspects of 3-D political chess are involved with all of these “high-profile” endorsements because it sure isn’t about helping one of them actually win. The truth is the endorsements of Preckwinkle, Trotter, Raoul, etc. will mean little in such a short cycle in building name recognition or mobilizing a field operation. It’s too bad because Toi and Robin will emerge from this less than they were but it’s clear: Game over.

    Comment by ericd1112 Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 12:45 pm

  11. No Senators on her endorsement list-yet…still way too early to stick your foot out…

    Comment by Loop Lady Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 12:49 pm

  12. “…but it’s clear: Game over. ”

    I guess we should just cancel the election.

    Comment by Bill F. Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 12:53 pm

  13. “…but it’s clear: Game over. ”

    I guess we should just cancel the election.

    And take away my fun Bill?

    Comment by OneMan Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 3:21 pm

  14. *I* would do no such thing. ;)

    Comment by Bill F. Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 3:50 pm

  15. No one finds it the least bit hypocritical that Robin Kelly has blasted out mail pieces praising her record on guns, yet takes an endorsement from a man who has been charged with carrying a gun??? On a plane nonetheless??

    Comment by ChicagoModerate Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 4:19 pm

  16. Don’ t expect Halvorson to be endorsed by cowards afraid of going public in support of her.

    Comment by VanillaMan Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 7:43 pm

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