Weather Updates

Invisible Jesse Jackson Jr. seen as heavy favorite in lopsided congressional race

Jesse JacksJr. (pictured 2011)  |  Charles Dharapak~AP

Jesse Jackson Jr. (pictured in 2011) | Charles Dharapak~AP

storyidforme: 37711745
tmspicid: 12222067
fileheaderid: 5576114

Updated: November 1, 2012 6:45AM

Some say as long as he has a pulse, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. will win the seat he’s held since 1995.

And it seems that’s what the Jackson campaign is counting on this election.

The South Side Democrat has been on a leave of absence for more than three months ultimately disclosing he is battling mental illness.

Aside from occasional quotes from his aides stating that he will remain on the ballot, Jackson has not been campaigning for his South Side and south suburban 2nd Congressional District seat.

He and his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), have put their Washington D.C. home up for sale — only to immediately take it off the market.

Both have been loathe to speak to the media. During a fund-raising event last Tuesday, Sandi Jackson called reporters waiting to speak to her outside “jackals.” She went to such great lengths to avoid the media, she waited inside the darkened, otherwise empty restaurant until the last camera departed before she would exit.

One of Jackson’s opponents, Marcus Lewis, who filed as an independent but said he would caucus with Democrats, has a different view on the race.

“This is the most important congressional race in the country,” said Lewis.

Lewis, as well as Brian Woodworth, a Republican, and write-in candidate Anthony W. Williams, have hit Jackson hard on not only his absence due to illness, but his absence from Chicago over the last several years. They say the 2nd Congressional district is economically destitute and needs stronger representation. Jackson’s opponents, however, lack organization and funding.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.