Chicago special-election primary today

Today, lucky Chicago voters in Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District get to go to the polls and select their next Representative.  Actually, I need to clarify two points.  First, today is the Democratic primary, which in IL-02 is functionally the general election, as Republicans stand no chance in the actual special election in April.  Second, IL-02 voters are lucky only in the sense that they have an opportunity to see if they can break a losing streak that saw their previous two Representatives end up in federal custody.

But hey, let’s celebrate local control!

Chicago voters are poised to decide who takes over the congressional seat previously held by Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned in November and has since pled guilty to misusing hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars on personal expenses.

The winner of today’s Democratic primary in the heavily Democratic second district is widely expected to triumph in the April 9 special election.

There are 14 Democrats in the race – along with four Republicans – but three real Democratic frontrunners: Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Alderman Anthony Beale and former state Rep. Robin Kelly. One recent poll by Victory Research for WCKG-AM Radio showed Halvorson with a slight lead, holding 21 percent of the vote to Kelly’s 17 percent.

Did I say “local control”?  Allow me a third clarification, please:

A National Rifle Association-friendly ex-congresswoman, Debbie Halvorson — the only white candidate in a field of more than a dozen candidates seeking the Chicagoland seat — jumped ahead of the pack on the strength of her name ID and lengthy service in state politics. But that was before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his super PAC carpet-bombed Halvorson with a $2 million-plus ad campaign highlighting her pro-gun views and propping up rival Robin Kelly.

So now the mayor of New York City is trying to hand-pick a winner in Chicago?  Well, arguably he couldn’t do any worse than the voters in IL-02 have done over the last twenty years, with Mel Reynolds and Jesse Jackson Jr.  Just remember, having insanely rich old men buying elections is only bad when Republicans do it.

At the previous link, Politico gives readers five keys to watch in the voting today to see who pulls this off, but don’t be surprised to see a Kelly win after all of this Bloomberg money dropping into the race.  They did manage to miss the impact of the graveyard vote, but even that may not matter much in this case.  At least federal investigators will get a new picture to put up on their corkboard for future reference.