CHICAGO (CBS) – Elections to determine a replacement for Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will occur on Feb. 26 and – for now — March 19 of next year, Gov. Pat Quinn announced today.

A primary would be held on the February date to determine major-party candidates. By law, Quinn set March 19 as the general-election date, but he said he’ll ask lawmakers to move it to April 9, 2013, when suburban general elections are already occurring.

“By holding the special primary and general elections on the same days as existing contests, we can save significant taxpayer dollars and ensure the people of the 2nd District can make their voices heard,” Quinn said in a news release.

Cook County Clerk David Orr said the governor’s push for the regularly schedule election date of April 9 makes sense and would generate greater voter turnout.

Jackson Jr., a South Side Democrat, resigned from Congress last week amid health problems and reported plea-deal negotiations with federal prosecutors.

His former 2nd Congressional District comprises 263 precincts in suburban Cook County, 170 precincts in Chicago, 85 precincts in Kankakee County and 27 precincts in Will County. Approximately 420,000 registered voters reside in the district, of which more than half are in suburban Cook County, the governor’s office said.

The state board of elections is now working on an election calender that is expected to set the first week in January as the filing deadline, CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports. That’ll give potential candidates about five weeks to gather a minimum of somewhere around 500 or 600 signatures on petitions.

Already, the Democratic field of candidates to replace Jackson is getting crowded.

Former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson – who lost to Jackson in the March primary – has announced her candidacy for the 2nd District seat. Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) announced he has formed a committee to run.

Meanwhile, Pastor Corey Brooks — whose efforts to build a community center on Chicago’s South Side received national attention — says he is considering a run.

The name of high-profile attorney Sam Adam Jr. also surfaced as a potential candidate to replace Jackson.

Also mulling a decision whether to run are 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. Will Burns (4th), and Dolton Rev. Anthony Williams.

LISTEN: WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

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