You probably have heard that the congressional seat formerly held by Jesse Jackson Jr. is up for grabs after “Triple J” resigned it. He had won reelection in November, despite not being seen in public for months, but then called it quits, apparently in anticipation of a plea bargain for corruption.
His southside Chicago district had until recently been a typically gerrymandered majority-black stronghold, but in an effort to squeeze out a Republican or two, the Democratic-controlled state legislature expanded it all the way to rural Kankakee. That opened an opportunity for former state senator and U.S. Rep Debbie Halvorson, who had built a strong pro-gun record representing a largely rural district.
Now, you wouldn’t normally think a white, relatively moderate candidate could possibly win in the former Jackson domain, but in the Democratic primary, Halvorson will be facing off against several black candidates, each with the potential to carve out part of the vote. Observers gave Halvorson a real chance of winning the primary, leading to an almost certain victory in the special election to replace Jackson.
All that’s of purely academic interest to you if you’re not from Illinois, but what is of 100% practical interest is that Bloomberg, through his Independence USA super PAC, is dropping a cool $1 million to oppose Halvorson, citing her A rating from NRA.
To her credit, Halvorson has hung tough, not backing off her previous positions. Having a bossy billionaire raining fire on you from 700 miles away is, of course, dispiriting. Asked about Bloomberg’s carpetbagging, she said, “How could you not be concerned about more than a million coming from one billionaire in New York?”
“If he thinks he can buy a congressional race in Illinois, he’s never going to stop,” she continued.
Well, yes. He does think he can buy elections wherever he can send money, and he’s not going to stop. Don’t hurry to say “there oughta be a law,” because the first target of that sort of law would be the NRA. We’re just going to have to outspend him and outwork him, and count on the one factor that limits his kind. No matter how rich you are, you don’t get to live forever.