Conservative Democrat and former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson is the current frontrunner to succeed Jesse Jackson Jr. The Chicago district is riddled with gun violence, yet Halvorson is as strong ally of the National Rifle Association.
Jackson Jr.'s seat is up for grabs in a 17-way democratic primary that is sure to bring national attention. The majority black, south side district, is one of the worst areas for gun violence and typically elects liberal, African American representatives. Halvarson is a conservative Democrat with an A-rating from the NRA.
The other 16 candidates are all African American and will likely splinter their collective vote. This opens the doorway for Halvorson, who has strong name recognition in the area and is the outlier of all the candidates. According to a new Democratic poll, Halvorson currently is leading with 16% of the vote; 4% ahead of the next closest contender.
The irony of the situation is certain to bring attention to the area. The departure of a leading Chicago Democrat, Jackson Jr., the possible campaign involvement of the NRA, and the continuing gun control talks around the country have all added to the craziness surrounding Illinois' 2nd congressional district.
Halvarson's opponents have already announced plans to attack her over her association with the NRA.