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Cheryle Jackson moving a step closer to US Senate contest

Monday, Jun 29, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Cheryle Jackson is forming an exploratory committee

In a phone interview, Ms. Jackson said paperwork for the exploratory panel will be filed later this week and she intends to declare her race for President Barack Obama’s old Senate race “within a couple of months.”

“I’m moving forward,” said Ms. Jackson, 44, who served as press secretary to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich before becoming president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Chicago almost three years ago.

Since word leaked out in February that she was considering running, “I’ve received an enormous amount of feedback, positive feedback,” she said. “This is a bold step for me.” […]

A race by Ms. Jackson could attract substantial national interest and cash because it raises the prospect that the only Senate seat now held by an African-American would remain so. It also raises the possibility that Illinois would get only its second female senator ever; the other was Carol Moseley Braun, who was defeated for re-election.

Jackson was the spokesperson for Rod Blagojevich, which ain’t gonna help much. She does have some important backing out there (including Sen. James Meeks), and she has some pretty good media skills. Here she is on Chicago Tonight last fall…



  1. - Ghost - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 3:37 pm:

    She would be an excelletn canidate. I think she is brighter then JJJ and better at politics.

  2. - Cassandra - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 3:40 pm:

    Could her possible candidacy be a reason why Lisa is
    holding off on a decision on whether to enter the race?

  3. - Bill - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 3:43 pm:

    Jackson would be great! Good luck to her….unless Lisa runs.

  4. - pmels - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 3:46 pm:

    Why don’t the Democrats just run Blago again. The fact that he is a crook didn’t stop them all from supporting his reelection last time?

  5. - A Citizen - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 3:51 pm:

    I wonder what Joe Biden thinks? Is he in her corner? He certainly carried the day for Obama . . . eventually.

  6. - WOW - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:01 pm:

    I don’t know about her savy, knowledge or backing but I think the Blago albatross is gonna be a tough bird to shake. At least in the next election cycle …. best of luck to her.

  7. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:05 pm:

    Smart, savvy, good media skills and some support in the business community may make her a dangerous candidate. That said, if Roland stays in the race and it come down to Lisa, Cheryle Jackson, Roland and Alexi, it is going to be very very tough.

  8. - OneMan - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:12 pm:

    You don’t have too much time to explore, petitions have to go out fairly soon.

    Also I don’t see Rolland stepping aside for her (or anyone)

  9. - Really? - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:21 pm:

    I mean, how many videos exist of her defending Rod? And how many times would we see them in campaign ads leading up to the primary?

    If Illinoisans elected someone this close to Rod’s inner circle, I’d say they’ve gotten the leadership they deserve, both now and in the past. But I don’t think they ever would.

  10. - TTL, III - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:21 pm:

    What is it that qualifies her? Not that we here in Illinois are all that concerned about such things…

  11. - Ghost - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:22 pm:

    I do not see Roland being much of a challenge for her.

  12. - David Ormsby - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:36 pm:

    First Dan Proft, now Cheryle Jackson. A lot in common. PR types whose unhumble pretensions are equal only to their lack of experience.

  13. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:54 pm:

    AA has to go with David here. Flacking for Amtrak and Blago are arguably two challenging assignments, but not exactly with marquee clients.

    Really, I wouldn’t worry about a surfeit of videos of Cheryle defending the mop-headed crook, because she didn’t do that many. When the going got tough, a) Cheryle sent Abby and b) she scooby-dooed over to the friendly confines of the Urban League.

    Battle-tested, she is not. Pleasant and astute, yes. I question the political skills of anyone who is testing the waters at this late date, especially after the White House has delivered a wink? nod? something in Lisa’s direction.

  14. - Amy - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:55 pm:


  15. - ahoy - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:56 pm:

    I don’t think she has a chance right now with the Blago tie. Maybe in the future, she’s still young but I don’t see her even winning the primary with that time tied to hers.

  16. - LINK - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:58 pm:

    Would there be any extra baggage from how her husband was moved around and promoted within state agencies while she worked for Blago?

  17. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 4:58 pm:

    She has a lot of nerve.

    What has she done to explain her work as a spokesperson to Illinois’ worse governor? Was she fooled by Rod Blagojevich? If she was, then she is not capable of being bright enough for the job. Did she know what kind of person Rod Blagojevich was? If she did, then she is not honest enough to be trusted.

    What has she done to explain how she was used, either willingly or unwillingly by Rod Blagojevich?

    She has a lot of nerve.

    Other than that - good luck Cheryle! You’re nuts!

  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 5:16 pm:

    Everyone is forgetting the emotional appeal to many of keeping Barack Obama’s seat filled by an African American.

    You may not like it, but it’s there. And there is a lot of evidence that voters decision are largely ruled by emotion.

  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 5:32 pm:

    Can you say, BOUNCED CHECK?

  20. - bored now - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 5:41 pm:

    we invited her to come speak before a large group of obama activists in the south suburbs, and after initial interest, she completely dropped the ball. i doubt she’ll decide in time to get her petitions in…

  21. - shermans ghost - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 6:51 pm:

    If she can get to Lincoln county, it’s in the bag.
    Ahhh, another hyped insider with pretensions. Great.

  22. - Will County Woman - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 7:00 pm:

    She doesn’t have a base, so I don’t know how Cheryl could possibly win. I suspect she is a unknown outside of the chicagoland area, which doesn’t bode well for her.

  23. - Gregor - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 7:03 pm:

    Nope, she’s too tainted by the Blago association, and she’s not going to raise enough money to be a threat. Like Vanilla says, she gets the “wife-beating question” variant of: “were you too stupid to see what was going on while you enabled and championed it, or are you a liar”. Considering the timing or Rod’s trial, it is going to be way easier to convict CJ in the court of public opinion, and with her own words and deeds, than her ex-boss in a real court.

    And I wouldn’t consider Meeks’ support all that great a factor; his games of slap-and-tickle with Blago, playing at a primary challenge, then being bought off of it on the cheap, plus not even actually getting the pay-back delivered… well, sorry, I just don’t have a lot of faith in the Reverend. All hat, no cattle.

    The suggestion that she has a chance because of some “quota” rings hollow to me: Obama’s wins were supposed to signal we were “post-racial” in our electoral thinking now. To make a big deal of race over qualifications after that seems like a step back, doesn’t it?

    Finally, frankly, the field is too cluttered already, Jackson getting in helps Republicans more than Dems at this point by muddling the electorate and giving away free shots for the Repubs to bring up Rod every day.

    I can see no up side to any of it.

  24. - Bebe - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 7:19 pm:

    Oy. Another pretty face and pretty body with no substance. Any previous poster who think she is smart or savvy has not worked with her before. Eesh.

  25. - fed up - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 7:29 pm:

    I dont know if I would call Meeks backing important outside of his district. No experiance, No base, ties to Blago, it would be an uphill battle for her.

  26. - One to the Dome - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 7:32 pm:

    who is on the expolitory committee? does this mean Roland’s not running? her move would hurt anyone depending on the black vote (or splits it) if both her and Burris runs.
    can she raise the $$$ compared to Alexie or Lisa?

  27. - Lucy - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 8:21 pm:

    she wont get a chance because she will be too busy with blago’s trial…being blago’s lackey does not make you smart or savvy just an accomplice and enabler….but if she is dumb enough to go ahead…i would luv to hear her defend her time with blago

  28. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 10:51 pm:

    i don’t think so.

    It should be clear though, by now, that there is no monolithic African-American vote in a Democratic primary.

  29. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Jun 29, 09 @ 10:57 pm:

    It does seem late in the cycle to be “undecided”.

  30. - John Doe - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 6:25 am:

    If Cheryle Jackson does run for the Obama’s old senate seat, it is a given that Lisa Madigan will now be free to run for Illinois governor as she had planned (and wanted ) to be doing. Barack was afraid that Lisa is the only Democrat candidate that he could be assured was “a slam-dunk” to win his old US senate seat. And, Obama is correct in his assumption. Lisa will win whatever seat that she runs for. There is a reason why she refuses to speak out on or take a stand about a state tax increase. She is guaranteed to be a winner in whatever she runs for. Why risk it by taking a stand on any political issue? Ms. Jackson will get 99% of the Illinois black vote but she won’t be guaranteed 99% of the white Illinois Democrat Party vote. There is where the rub lies. Ms. Jackson is a definite “maybe” while Lisa is “a sure thing” when it comes to winning Barack’s old seat. The Jackson name couild well be a liability in this case.

  31. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 7:55 am:

    –I question the political skills of anyone who is testing the waters at this late date, especially after the White House has delivered a wink? nod? something in Lisa’s direction.–

    AA, I think this is an indirect public request for a nice federal job.

  32. - Snidely Whiplash - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:03 am:

    That business about keeping the only black senate seat “black” is really offensive. But hey, what works for the Messiah …

  33. - Former Staffer - Tuesday, Jun 30, 09 @ 9:43 pm:

    I agree with Bebe and others - having worked with her, I can vouch that she’s 100% worthless. I wanted to see Lisa Madigan run for Gov, but if it means keeping Cheryle Jackson out of the Senate race, I hope Lisa runs for Senate!

  34. Pingback Get your News » Quigley Endorses Giannoulias For Senate - Monday, Jul 20, 09 @ 8:44 pm:

    […] Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson continues to mull running, though she has yet to issue any formal statements, while Merchandise Mart boss Chris Kennedy has been quiet after a flurry of speculation that he was set to enter the race. […]

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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