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Democrats Wed Sep 07 2011

Epic Showdown Looming for Congress

South Side Chicago and the southern suburbs could be the battle ground for a Democratic heavyweight battle come next March. Former Congressional Representative Debbie Halvorson filed paperwork to explore a potential matchup in the second congressional district with Jesse Jackson Jr.

"I've been asked to run by constituents who feel they are not represented," said Halvorson, who lives in Crete, which would become part of Jackson's congressional district under a new remap. "I've told them I would consider it and I have to keep my options open if I'm going to do that and that means filing my paperwork."

However, Halvorson sounded very much like a candidate when she said, "He (Jackson) lives in D.C.. He doesn't come home on weekends. His kids go to school in D.C.

It is a sharp attack on Jackson pitting him as a Washington insider. Halvorson could use her defeat in 2010 to her advantage by citing her time as an alternative energy consultant as well as learning hard lessons from her defeat.

Jackson meanwhile continues to pounce on outsiders for their stances against his proposed Peotone airport.

"I've also worked with local communities to secure $700 million in private funds to build a new airport that will create 15,000 new jobs. Our's is the only airport plan I'm aware of, and I plan to see it through until opening day. People today want more jobs and less political infighting."

Nevertheless the potential showdown would feature the 46-year-old Jackson and the 53-year-old Halvorson in an election where race is all but certain to become an issue. Jackson has long represented black neighborhoods and suburbs but the new remapped district now includes exurbs in the collar countries. These new territories could potentially provide Halvorson with a base to grow her candidacy. Local politicians who spar with Jackson may also see this as an opportunity to further damage the young man's political aspirations with a contentious primary fight.

The two are also about even in cash on hand at the end of the last filing deadline.

She reported $222,000 in the bank at the end of July. Jackson, meanwhile, reported slightly more cash on hand -- $306,000 -- at that same point in time.

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