UPDATED: 3/21/12 7:33 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), who faced his strongest primary challenge in years, easily defeated fellow Democrat Debbie Halvorson, in the 2nd Congressional District primary.

Halvorson was challenging Jackson after losing her 11th District seat to Republican Adam Kinzinger two years ago. Jackson’s 2nd District had since been redrawn to include parts of Halvorson’s old district.

“I have been re-elected 10 times now,” Jackson said. “This victory may be the most meaningful of all.”

It is meaningful, he said, because “this used to be an urban district. Now we have black, white, Latino … we are a broad rep of the swath of America.”


Halvorson, who called Jackson to congratulate him, said she was happy with her campaign, but disappointed that party leaders backed her rival.

“No matter what it is, the party leaders still come out for people who are ethically challenged, and it’s not just congressman Jackson,” Halvorson said.

On Wednesday morning, Jackson was out thanking voters at 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue. He strolled up and down the median on Stony Island, holding a “thank you” sign, and waving and chatting with motorists.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

“I can’t think of anything higher than to come back the day after the election and thank people for voting for me,” Jackson said.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Jackson says his big push now will be to try to get Gov. Pat Quinn to approve the start of construction of an airport in Peotone.

But he also has hanging over his head a House Ethics Committee investigation on any connection he had with deposed Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat.

“I’m going to be vindicated by that process,” Jackson said. “I’ve never been accused of any wrongdoing.”

debbie halvorson Jackson Jr. Defeats Dem Rival Halvorson In 2nd District

Debbie Halvorson appears with her granddaughter at her election party on Tuesday night. (Credit: Mike Puccinelli/CBS)

In the heavily Democratic district, Jackson will face Brian Woodworth, the winner of the GOP primary.

8th Congressional District

Iraq War veteran and former Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth defeated former Deputy Illinois Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi.

Duckworth takes on Tea Party firebrand Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) in the general election.

She said it is time to bring back common sense in Washington. She blasted Walsh for his “right-wing ideology.” Walsh, she said, says no to any plan to create jobs for small businesses, while promoting tax breaks for big corporations.

Duckworth referenced her military service, saying “I would be honored to continue that service as a member of Congress.”

16th Congressional District

In a battle of Republican incumbents, Kinzinger defeated veteran Rep. Don Manzullo.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

A Democrat-drawn remap has pitted Kinzinger, an Air National Guard pilot, against Manzullo, a long-time resident of Rockford, who had been in Congress since 1992.

Both are conservative, but the Tea Party endorsed Manzullo.

There is no Democrat running for the seat in the general election, effectively sending Kinzinger back to Congress for a second term.

10th Congressional District

Brad Schneider defeated Vivek Bavda, Ilya Sheyman, and John Tree. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Schneider held a 47 percent-39 percent lead over his nearest rival, Sheyman.

Schneider will face incumbent GOP Rep. Robert Dold in the redrawn north suburban district.

In Cook County, three-term incumbent Dorothy Brown easily defeated Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd).

Both candidates focused on the need to modernize the county’s court record keeping system.

Rep. Derrick Smith, who is facing federal bribery charges, won the Democratic nomination for Illinois House in 10th District.

In the 10th state Senate District on the city’s West Side, Sen. Annazette Collins (D-Chicago) lost to former mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, 54 to 46 percent. Collins had been criticized for questionable awards of legislative scholarships, and there have been questions about whether she lives in her district.

Former NFL football player Napoleon Harris won the Democratic primary for the 15th state Senate District, which state Sen. Rev. James Meeks’ is vacating after his term ends. Harris defeated Donna Miller – the wife of former state Rep. David Miller – and South Holland deputy village administrator Patricia Mahon.

And in the 14th state House District on the north lakefront, incumbent Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) handily defeated her challenger, community activist Paula Basta, in an unprecedented contest involving two openly lesbian candidates, the Chicago Phoenix reported. Cassidy was appointed to the seat after Rep. Harry Osterman left the General Assembly to take over as alderman of the 48th Ward.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

In Kane County, former St. Charles Mayor Sue Klinkhamer beat out Carpentersville Mayor Bill Sarto in the race for County Board chairman. Klinkhamer will now face Republican Chris Lauzen, who is leaving the Illinois State Senate.

Meanwhile, Lauzen’s vacancy in the 25th state Senate District could be filled by Jim Oberweis, the dairy owner and perennial candidate who notched his first campaign victory after a series of failed bids for U.S. Senate, House and governor. Oberweis will face Democrat Corinne Pierog, a St. Charles School Board member.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

And Democrat Mary Jane Theis won the primary for the Illinois State Supreme Court seat she has held since Justice Thomas Fitzgerald stepped down in 2010, and appointed her to replace him. Voters picked her over Aurelia Pucinski, Joy Virginia Cunningham, and Thomas Flannigan. Theis will replace Republican James Riley in the fall.

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