“The constituents of the Second District deserve a full-time legislator in Washington, something I cannot be for the foreseeable future,” he said. “My health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible with service in the House.”
By law, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) will call a special election to replace Jackson within the next 115 days.
Among the names being mentioned for the safely Democratic seat are Jackson’s wife, Chicago Alderwoman Sandi Jackson (D), Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly (D), state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D) and state Sen. Napoleon Harris (D), a former football player at Northwestern University and in the NFL.
Also being mentioned is former congressman Mel Reynolds (D), who resigned the seat after being convicted of charges related to child pornography and sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old campaign worker.
In that 1995 race to succeed Reynolds, Jackson signaled his ambition from the outset, hoping to accrue power over a long career. “The only way one grows into leadership in Congress is to get elected young enough that you become speaker of the House or chairman of the Ways and Means Committee,” he said.