Robin Kelly has now won the special Democratic primary in Illinois 2nd District. She now heads to the April 9 general election.
Former Illinois legislator Robin Kelly captured the Democratic nomination Tuesday in the race to replace Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., after a truncated campaign season where she got a boost from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC.
Because the Chicago area district is overwhelmingly Democratic, this almost ensures that Kelly will be headed to Washington after the April 9 general election.
The former State Representative and Cook County administrator won with 54 percent of the votes.
Her stand on gun-control issues helped her win the support from Bloomberg’s super PAC, Independence USA, who poured more than $2 million dollars into the race. Kelly said that, “We worked really, really hard. We were on the right side of the issue and our message resonated.”
Bloomberg and gun control proponents seized on the results as evidence of momentum in their push to enact President Barack Obama’s gun control package. The mayor will take that message to Washington Wednesday in meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), according to Bloomberg’s public schedule.
Bloomberg’s visit coincides with a hearing the Senate Judiciary is slated to hold Wednesday on a proposal to ban assault weapons.
Kelly’s victory speech focused on gun control, which emerged as a key issue leading up to the Tuesday primary.
“You sent a message that was heard around our state and across the nation,” Kelly said Tuesday, per her prepared remarks. “A message that tells the NRA that their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end. And their days of scaring Congress into submission on gun control are coming to a close.”
CREDO Super PAC also supported Kelly and targeted Kelly’s opponent, Debbie Halvorson over her gun control positions. Becky Bond, the super PAC’s president, said in a statement Tuesday that Halvorson was “crushed” at the polls over the issue.
Halvorson conceded Tuesday evening, saying the outside money certainly played a role.
“It shows, unfortunately, you can’t go up against that big money. …That’s the problem with super PACs,” Halvorson said. “There is nothing I could have done differently.”