Robin Kelly, former state representative and Chief Administrative Officer to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, breezed to victory last night in the race for the 2nd Illinois Congressional district to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation by former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. Robin Kelly received more than 50% of the vote in a crowded field, an accomplishment many would say is impossible.
Making the accomplishment more impressive was that Robin Kelly was only one of many African-American candidates vying for the office, as many political pundits handed the victory before the election even got underway to the only white candidate in the field, former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson.
That made Robin Kelly the right candidate. If Robin Kelly didn't exist, Hollywood would surely have invented her. The Chicago Tribune singled her out for her integrity and work ethic as she received the coveted endorsement of the Chicago Tribune.
In its endorsement of Robin Kelly, it said that the "next member of Congress" must be "trustworthy, forthright and independent," with an ability to "balance the issues of affordable housing and high unemployment with the needs of farmers, tea party activists and stay-at-home moms." The endorsement editorial also said that the "next member of Congress will "need to hit the ground sprinting," given that the seat has been open since November.
In addition to Robin Kelly being the right candidate, Robin Kelly was the candidate with the right message. Recognizing that the leading contenders in the field were all "progressive," Robin Kelly was able to capitalize on a message that showed the differences: gun control. The "F" rating by the National Rifle Association, was the wedge issue in the campaign and the Kelly campaign took full advantage of that message.
The Bloomberg Super PAC, Independence USA PAC, was a huge help. However, Robin Kelly and anyone on her campaign staff will tell you that the endorsement from Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos was the "tipping point." The endorsement came in early February in favor of Robin Kelly for Congress and gave the campaign an immeasurable boost, not only in money, but in volunteers. It also solidified her standing in the community as the "true" progressive in the race. Markos Moulitsas is "the leading" progressive voice in America and the Daily Kos is "the leading" progressive platform in America.
In addition to the right candidate with the right message, Robin Kelly came along at the right time. After all, Robin Kelly was running for the seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr. It was Jesse Jackson Jr. ran for the seat vacated by convicted felon Mel Reynolds. Before that, Mel Reynolds defeated the ethically challenged former Congressman Gus Savage.
All signs indicate that Robin Kelly is up to the challenge.
Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions or even to volunteer for Robin Kelly at email@example.com.
John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns and is currently an unpaid volunteer for the Robin Kelly for Congress campaign. Robin Kelly also has a facebook fan page.