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‘Rooftop Pastor’ Considers Congressional Bid With Jackson Jr.’s Departure

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Rev. Corey Brooks discusses his cross-country walk to raise money for a community center in Woodlawn. (Credit: CBS)

Rev. Corey Brooks discusses his cross-country walk to raise money for a community center in Woodlawn. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Pastor Corey Brooks, commonly known as the “rooftop pastor,” confirms he is considering a bid for the 2nd District congressional seat left vacant by Jesse Jackson Jr.

Brooks says two “highly respected” and well-known individuals recently reached out to him and asked him to think about it. As a result, he is organizing an exploratory committee, which met  Sunday night.

“I continue to pray and think about it,” Brooks tells CBS 2.

Brooks says he currently does not live in the 2nd District, which covers part of Chicago’s South Side and its south suburbs. If he were elected, Brooks said he would move within its boundaries.

Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church, says he would refrain from negative campaigning in what is expected to be a crowded field. Also mulling a decision whether to run are Jackson’s brother, Jonathan; dentist and former Illinois state Rep. David Miller; former state Rep. Robin Kelly; state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields); state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago); state Sen.-elect Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor), Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), and Ald. Will Burns (4th). Defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. says he also is interested.

On Sunday, former Congressman Debbie Halvorson announced she will run for the seat.

Brooks received national attention early this year for camping out atop a vacant motel’s roof in his West Woodlawn neighborhood. The blighted structure had become a symbol of urban neglect and crime. Brooks raised funds to tear it down, and hopes to build a community center in its place.

Jackson Jr. resigned last week amid health problems and as his attorney is reportedly negotiating a plea deal with federal prosecutors over misspent campaign funds.

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