ABOVE PHOTO: Alderman Sandi Jackson
The wife of Jesse Jackson Jr. said Tuesday that she’s not interested in running for the U.S. House seat her husband held for nearly 17 years, ending talk that she was eying the Chicago-area district.
“No. I am not a candidate for Congress,” Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson told reporters. “I intend to remain an alderman.”
Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned last month citing his health and acknowledging that he’s under federal investigation, reportedly for misusing campaign funds. His decision followed a hushed medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder. He remained out of the public eye for five months, even leading up to the Nov. 6 election, where he easily won re-election.
His resignation created a rare opening in the largely Democratic and urban district that covers city neighborhoods and some south suburbs. Numerous candidates have stepped forward. Sandi Jackson, who has held her aldermanic seat since 2007, was also floated as a potential candidate.
Democrats who have said they are running include former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, whom Jackson beat in a primary earlier this year, former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson and former state Rep. Robin Kelly.
Jackson Jr.’s younger brother, Jonathan Jackson who is a college professor in Chicago, has said he is considering a run. Both are sons of the civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The primary is scheduled for Feb. 26, and the special election is April 9.
Democratic officials in Cook County — including Sandi Jackson, other aldermen and township officials — plan to hold an endorsement session this weekend. Cook County makes up most of the 2nd Congressional District. Party officials have said they intend to back one candidate.
Sandi Jackson said she doesn’t know which candidate she’ll support.
She said her husband is staying at their Washington home with their two children. The couple also has a home in Chicago. She said she’s not sure yet if they’ll move back to Chicago full time.
“I haven’t made a decision about what I’m going to do,” she said. “What I’m doing right now is concentrating on delivering the best city services possible to the ward. When that decision is made I’ll be sure to let you know.”