CHICAGO (CBS) — The three candidates running against ailing Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. agree he would need to be replaced even if he were not being treated for bipolar disorder, but they differ over almost everything else.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Republican congressional candidate Brian Woodworth said, even if Jackson were showing up to work, he’s no longer effective as the representative of the 2nd District.
“The only power he had was the appropriations power, and now that they’ve done away with the earmark process, he doesn’t have that ability anymore,” he said.
Independent candidate Marcus Lewis said Jackson isn’t solving any problems for his constituents.
“Harvey has 80 percent unemployment. That’s absolutely an outrage. Dolton, Markham, Dixmoor – they look like the Sudan,” he said.
That prompted write-in candidate Rev. Anthony Williams to say, “No, Dolton doesn’t look like the Sudan. I live in Dolton. I’m not going to let you get away with that.”
LISTEN: WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports
But Williams said he agrees people in the 2nd District need a change.
“People need stability, and people need someone who has maturity, and the expertise to lead that district,” he said.
Lewis said, given Jackson’s medical and legal issues, “it would be an absolute disaster, and be a disgrace,” if he were re-elected.
“I am depending on the constituents, the voters of the 2nd Congressional District,” he said.
Polls and experience suggest, even though Jackson has not been campaigning or working for more than four months, he’s still a heavy favorite to win re-election.
Woodworth said Jackson’s name recognition, and the fact he is a Democrat in a heavily Democratic district, make it a tough race for the challengers.
“There’s a brand name there, just in the Jackson name,” he said. “The one thing I challenge people with is, well, when you go to the department store, would you purchase a broken washing machine because you’ve always had faith in the Maytag name? And the answer is no.”
But Lewis said Jackson’s treatment for bipolar disorder, and the federal investigations targeting him, make him vulnerable.
“I’m just basically saying that the people that are telling you that he’s an easy, I don’t see that on the street,” Lewis said. “Because I’m campaigning, and he is not.”
“Starting with early voting, starting Monday, and on November the 6th, I think the citizens of the 2nd Congressional District will elect a new congressman,” he said.
Woodworth said it’s all about geography and demographics.
“Much of the district, at least a large portion geographically, is a new district in which Jesse Jackson is not the incumbent,” he said. “In fact, he’s a new candidate … on the ballot as well.”
Williams said he believes Jackson won’t be re-elected.
“I have faith in the electoral process. I have faith in the intelligence of the citizens.”
The 2nd District race is the focus of this weekend’s “At Issue” program, which airs at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on WBBM Newsradio 780 and 105.9FM.