CHICAGO (CBS) — One of the front runners to replace ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is leaving the race.
State Senator Toi Hutchinson is dropping out and throwing her support to Robin Kelly.
In a statement, Hutchinson called Kelly a friend and said she is not willing to risk dividing the community. Then she went after Debbie Halvorson, saying she is wrongheaded on gun control.
Halvorson said this is all part of efforts by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that includes running millions in ads against her.
“He is finding out that it is not working, they are all getting desperate and so he can’t get his friend Robin who is from New York elected so they are one-by-one trying to get everybody else out of the race,” said Halvorson.
Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, one of Kelly’s main opponents, also said Hutchinson was pushed out by Bloomberg.
“If we let the mayor from New York decide the next congressman from Illinois, then we really are the second city and the second district,” said Beale.
Kelly said it is not about the Bloomberg backing and is not sure why the millionaire specifically picked her, noting she hasn’t lived in New York in over 30 years.
While Hutchinson’s exit means one less African-American in the race, Halvorson said the pair share a similar base and many supporters are coming over to her side.
The primary is Feb. 26.