Welcome to Illinois, the Land of Lincoln. Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, who is now (as my grandma would put it) rolling in his grave out of embarrassment.
Only in Illinois, would voters in the Second Congressional District consider replacing one felon with another felon.
Republican voters (yes, they do exist in the heavily Democratic Second Congressional District) in February chose ex-convict Paul McKinley over Eric Wallace to represent them in the race to replace now former U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who is awaiting sentencing on multiple criminal counts.
With the Primary Election now a distant memory, Wallace, a multimedia executive from Flossmoor fell twenty plus votes shy of McKinley who has spent over twenty years in state prison for burglaries, armed robberies and aggravated battery.
In 1978, McKinley was sentenced to concurrent three- and four-year sentences for burglary and armed robbery; in 1981 he was sentenced to four years for burglary; in 1985 he was sentenced to five years for two counts of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm; and 30 years for armed robbery. McKinley was paroled in 1997 according to the state Department of Corrections.
In addition to over twenty years behind bars, McKinley has notched over a dozen additional arrests for protests gone bad. He’s carried his protesting fury over to the Second Congressional District where his campaign mantra is “rage against the machine.”
Ironically, the past three Congressmen from the Second District have left office amidst scandal. Most recently, Jackson plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and making false statements. His wife, Sandy, pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns. Jackson may face up to 57 months in prison and $100,000 in fines.
Jackson rose to power after then Congressman Mel Reynolds was convicted of 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice, et al. Reynolds in the midst of the allegation easily won re-election and was then forced to step down.
In 1992, Reynolds beat then Congressmen Gus Savage in a hotly contest race the newly redrawn Second District. In the coup de grace, Reynolds accused Savage of participating in a drive by shooting that injured him. Savage too left office bathed in controversy.
Needless to say, given the political leanings of the Second Congressional District combined with Republican party leaders’ dismay, it will be up to McKinley and his supporters to squeak out a win in the heavy-Democratic district.
However, who the Second Congressional District representative will be is solely and completely up to the voters, who are charged with the monumental task of choosing their representative in Congress.
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