Former Cook County CEO Robin Kelly (D) will officially replace resigned Illinios Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D), as she easily outdistanced Republican Paul McKinley last night in her heavily Democratic, Chicago-anchored, congressional district. Kelly received 73 percent of the vote in a special general election that was a mere formality. She unofficially won the seat back in late February when topping a field of 16 Democratic candidates, including former US Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-IL-11) and Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale.
McKinley, who won the Republican nomination on the same day that Kelly triumphed in the Democratic primary, was not a serious candidate. A convicted felon who served approximately 20 years in prison for a series of armed robberies and burglaries was never viewed as a candidate with any upset potential. McKinley spent just over $7,500 for the entire campaign. Kelly dropped more than $600,000 on her effort. Turnout was in the 85,000-vote range, which is rather high considering the lack of competition in the campaign.
The congresswoman-elect will be sworn into office later this week. She will stand for re-election in the regular election cycle.
Two other House vacancies still exist. South Carolina’s Charleston-anchored 1st District will be filled on May 7. Former governor Mark Sanford (R) faces university official Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) in what is turning into a close race. In southeastern Missouri’s 8th CD, featuring a battle between state Representatives, Republican Jason Smith is favored over Democrat Steve Hodges. The special general election for this contest is scheduled for June 4.