Reporting Derrick Blakley
CHICAGO (CBS) – State Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) said Wednesday he still wants Democratic Party bosses to back him in his bid to replace former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., despite his arrest for having a gun in his luggage at O’Hare International Airport.
But CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports Trotters opponents said the party has to look elsewhere for a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District.
In court Wednesday, Trotter’s attorney could not get a judge to hold a preliminary hearing in his effort to get the gun charge tossed out, as prosecutors said they’re taking the case to a grand jury, leaving Trotter’s congressional campaign in a pickle.
“You’d have to be deaf and dumb to think it wouldn’t affect his candidacy,” Trotter’s defense attorney, Thomas Durkin said. “It’s a cloud hanging over his head, which we’re not happy about.”
Democratic Committeemen were set to meet Saturday to back a candidate for Jackson’s vacant seat in Congress.
Gun charge or no, Trotter said he wants their support.
“I believe that my credentials and my work in that community certainly makes me highly qualified for that position,” Trotter said.
Trotter has been charged with trying to bring a gun and a loaded clip through a security checkpoint at O’Hare International Airport, while headed for a flight to Washington, D.C., last week.
Trotter’s rivals in the race to become Jackson’s successor said they believe the gun charge all but eliminates an endorsement of Trotter.
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said, “We don’t need to be sidetracked, we don’t need to have a cloud over the district in the race.”
Beale is also seeking the party’s endorsement, but fellow Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), who’s one of the committeemen for the 2nd District, said she’s backing Trotter.
Asked if the gun charge would tarnish voters’ view of his judgment or responsibility, Harris said, “I think … it’s going to be left up to the voters to answer that question, based on his history and his record.”
Durkin said he’s not sure what he’s going to allow trotter to tell committeemen about the gun incident. He said he might even go with Trotter to the endorsement session.
Meantime, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, although some candidates for Jackson’s seat have called asking for his support, he won’t endorse anyone in that race.
“I’m not going to get involved in this race, I’m not going to endorse in this race. Whoever wins, I expect you to be on Team Chicago,” he said. “I want you to be on the team in Chicago, fighting for federal resources, to help us bring resources back to the city of Chicago, so our residents have an improved quality of life, improved economic fortunes, and greater jobs.”
He said it will be up to voters to decide who the best candidate is for Jackson’s seat.