Debbie Halvorson will concede tonight in her Democratic primary race against U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. A poll before 9 p.m. showed Jackson Jr. with a 74 percent to 26 percent lead. Halvorson spoke with Progress Illinois early this evening, and her frustration with how the campaign went was evident.
“Being a challenger, it’s just very difficult,” Halvorson said in the parking lot of the University Park Metra Station, the last stop on the South Suburban Chicago Metra line. “You can’t raise the money and you don’t have the party backing.”
“So the system is completely broken. People say they don’t want an insider and they don’t want party leaders running everything, but yet they don’t want to ever help a challenger. So tell me, how do you fix the system?”
Halvorson was miffed that despite her record as a former member of Congress (she served as 11th District Representative from 2009 to 2011 before she lost to Adam Kinzinger) and State Senate Majority Leader, Jackson got all the big endorsements: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, and President Barack Obama.
“Why is it?” she said. “Are they afraid of the Jackson name?”
Halvorson then said that she wasn’t concerned about endorsements – and argued the media pays them too much attention. “He was just lining up endorsements when I worked very hard talking to the people,” Halvorson says.
The interview (see video below for more) came at 5 p.m. as Halvorson waited between arriving Metra trains to greet commuters. The candidate said that she would then make phone calls to voters between 6 to 7 p.m. before the polls close at 7 p.m.
When commuters did arrive almost all quickly walked past Halvorson (and this reporter) to get to the parking lot. “They just wanted to get to their cars,” Halvorson said.
Here is video of Halvorson: