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Jesse Jackson Jr.’s fall opponent: ‘I’m asking him to campaign or resign’

Write-candidate Anthony W. Williams. | NatashKorecki photo

Write-in candidate Anthony W. Williams. | Natasha Korecki photo

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Updated: October 19, 2012 6:20AM

An opponent of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in this fall’s election called for the congressman’s resignation on Monday, saying Jackson is unfit to serve the district.

Anthony W. Williams, a write-in candidate of the 2nd Congressional District, complained Jackson is out of touch and outright absent from the district — an absence, he argued, that began well before his June 10 health leave.

“We have an absentee congressman,” said Williams.

Williams, of Dolton, complained about Jackson spending his time in Washington D.C. rather than paying mind to issues in the district.

“I’m asking him to campaign or resign,” Williams said. “You can’t have it both ways.”

Williams is the pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Robbins. This campaign is his sixth attempt at Congress. Williams says he wants to raise awareness of the dire economic straits from which portions of the district suffers.

Jackson Jr. has been on leave since June 10. His aides initially said he was being treated for “exhaustion.” Jackson later moved to the Mayo Clinic, which said Jackson was being treated for bipolar depression. He was released earlier this month and headed to Washington.

Williams said when he walks the district, people tell him they don’t believe Jackson’s sick. Instead, they think he’s hiding from his legal troubles, he said.

“I believe that it’s a combination of both,” Williams said.

A Jackson spokesman would not comment on Williams’ charges.

Since 2008, Jackson has been dogged by a scandal involving former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who had the power to appoint the next U.S. Senator when Barack Obama was elected president. Jackson remains under investigation by a House ethics panel.

Jackson had lobbied publicly for the appointment. But a major fund-raiser to Jackson told authorities that privately, Jackson told him to approach the Blagojevich camp with a $6 million offer for the appointment. Jackson has steadfastly denied the allegations and has never been charged.

Jackson was first elected to his post in 1995. He has handily won his reelections, including in a primary race earlier this year.

He also faces a challenge this November from independent Marcus Lewis, and Republican Brian Woodworth.

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