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Kirk or Alexi? Jackson Endorsement Still Up In The Air

By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 24, 2010 8:40PM

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U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is causing a bit of a stir not only by his refusal to endorse Alexi Giannoulias in the race for U.S. Senate but also by the kind words he has for Alexi's Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk. Speaking to Politico, Jackson said, “I like Alexi Giannoulias, but I have great respect for Mark Kirk and his service to the people of Illinois." As Politico points out, Jackson and Kirk are familiar with each other as they both serve on the House Appropriations Committee. For his part, Jackson (a well-known Democrat) didn't issue an endorsement before this year's primaries. Not that supporting along party lines is a habit of Jackson's, as the Sun-Times notes:

In 1998, Jackson refused to endorse fellow Democrat Glenn Poshard for governor because Poshard opposed the airport, which Republican George Ryan backed. Jackson stayed on the sidelines in that race, telling constituents to “vote their interests.”

And in the past few weeks, Jackson has endorsed Forrest Claypool’s independent challenge to the Democratic nominee for Cook County assessor, Joe Berrios, the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Of course, as the scheduled start date of former governor Rod Blagojevich's trial is next Thursday, Jackson, aka Candidate 5, may be a tad more focused on what role he'll play there as opposed to the upcoming election.