The special election in IL-2, to succeed disgraced former Rep. and Michael Jackson enthusiast Jesse Jackson Jr. is today. In the heavily Dem, majority-black district stretching from Chicago's South Shore to Kankakee, the race is all but certain to be decided in today's primary.
The Democratic Primary was supposed to be a wild, messy affair, with decades of pent-up ambition among South Suburban candidates waiting to be released. Instead, it's functioned a lot like Survivor, with a succession of candidates dropping out one by one as the establishment coalesces. First to drop out was Jonathan Jackson, Jesse Jr.'s brother, who decided to forgo a run after his brother's misdeeds started coming to light. Then the initial favorite, State Sen. Donne Trotter, dropped out after being arrested for bringing a gun into O'Hare airport. Next, State Sen. Napoleon Harris dropped out after finding little traction. Finally, State Sen. Toi Hutchinson dropped out after withering attacks from Michael Bloomberg over her moderately pro-gun positions.
This series of drop-outs has left a clear front-runner: Robin Kelly, a former State Rep. from Matteson who became chief of staff to Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias before losing the 2010 Treasurer election. Kelly is expected to prevail comfortably today against two also-rans, ex-Rep. Debbie Halvorson, who was the front-runner until the field narrowed so precipitously, and Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, who never really got traction due to ethics issues. An interesting sideshow has been ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, JJJ's predecessor, who was forced out of office on sex charges. Reynolds is not expected to crack 5%.
While it's theoretically concievable that Halvorson could pull an upset if the 6" of snow expected for today lowers turnout enough, expect Kelly to prevail - maybe with an outright majority of the primary vote.
Despite all this CW, a recent poll for WCKG Radio showed Halvorson with a narrow lead. Salt that to taste.
A host of some dudes are competing in the R primary for the right to lose to Kelly; political commentator Lenny McAllister has been the most notable, but some dudes Eric Wallace and Paul McKinley have also been running quasi-serious campaigns.
Honestly, there isn't enough suspense in this race to merit a liveblog, but feel free to discuss returns below...