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Ananth Baliga/MEDILL

Robin Kelly attributed her victory to her stance on gun control.

Robin Kelly sweeps Democratic race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.

by Ananth Baliga
Feb 27, 2013

PRIMARY Ananth Baliga Photo1

Ananth Baliga/MEDILL

Robin Kelly greeting her supporters after her victory speech.

Former state Rep. Robin Kelly breezed through the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District beating her nearest rival, Debbie Halvorson, in a contest dominated by the gun violence issue.

Kelly won nearly 60 percent of the vote in Cook County, with Halvorson getting the better of Kelly in Will and Kankakee Counties. But low voter turnout on account of the bad weather in these two counties helped Kelly sweep the primary.

Kelly polled nearly 18,430 votes in Cook County with 9,900 of those coming from the Chicago area. Halvorson lagged behind with only 6,113 votes across the county with a meager 1,502 votes in Chicago.

This difference in vote share is the main reason for Kelly’s success in the primary.

Will County had a low voter turnout of 10.7 percent giving Halvorson only 2,911 votes compared with 1,214 votes for Kelly.

While Halvorson won Kankakee County by a margin of 2,744 votes, it wasn’t enough to overcome the large deficit she faced in Cook County.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), the only elected Chicago official in the race, was a distant third, doing poorly even in his own ward. He got only 1,517 votes in 9th Ward to Kelly’s 2,193 votes. Winning votes in his ward was a large part of Beale’s strategy for the primary.

With the 2nd District leaning Democrat, Kelly is likely to easily win the special election on April 9.