Despite Long Absence, Jackson Jr. Easily Wins Re-Election
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UPDATED: 11/7/2012 6:48 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Despite ongoing health problems that have kept him out of action for months – and a pair of investigations hanging over his head – Democratic Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. handily won re-election Tuesday against two largely unknown challengers.
With 99 percent of the vote counted, Jackson was leading with 63 percent of the vote, over Republican candidate Brian Woodworth, who had about 23 percent of the vote, and independent candidate Marcus Lewis, who had about 13 percent.
Rev. Anthony Williams also ran as a write-in candidate, but votes for him were negligible.
Jackson – who has represented the 2nd Congressional District since 1995 – has been on medical leave since June. He’s been suffering from bipolar disorder and gastrointestinal issues and has twice been admitted to the Mayo Clinic for treatment, most recently when he returned there late last month.
He also spent a few weeks at the Mayo Clinic in August and September.
“My deep and sincere thanks to the people of the 2nd Congressional District, I am humbled and moved by the support shown today,” Jackson said in a written statement supplied by Everyday, I think about your needs and concerns. Once the Doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better everyday and look forward to serving you.
In addition to his medical issues, Jackson has been the target of a U.S. House ethics probe for nearly four years, related to in connection with allegations a fundraiser tried to exchange campaign cash for a U.S. Senate appointment for Jackson from convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Federal investigators also reportedly are looking into allegations Jackson illegally used campaign funds to redecorate his home.
Jackson has not campaigned in months, and the only times he’s been seen in public were a rare and brief interview with a reporter outside his home in Washington, D.C., last month, and reports he was twice spotted drinking at a tavern near his D.C. home.
Last month, Placed a “robocall” to voters in his district, asking them to have patience as he recovers.
“For nearly 18 years I have served the people of the second district, I am anxious to return to work on your behalf, but at this time it is against medical advice, and while I will always give my all to my constituents, I ask for your continued patience as I work to get my health back.”
He went on to say that he is “starting to heal” but that doctors said the road to recovery will be a long one, and he asked people to be patient as he works to get his health back.
“I am human. I am doing my best,” he said.
While there’s been some speculation Jackson plans to step down, his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) has said that’s not the case.
“I’m looking forward to him coming back to work after his reelection,” Sandi said at a City Council meeting last month.