Jesse Jackson Jr. Coasts To Victory Despite Long Absence

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Nov 7, 2012 3:20PM

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Not Pictured: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL)

As expected, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago) cruised to an easy victory with 63 percent of the vote in the Second Congressional District, despite having been absent from work since June. Jackson has also been under two separate federal investigations in the last few months: One regarding his role in Rod Blagojevich's attempt to sell the Senate seat, and another regarding his mismanagement of campaign funds for personal use.

Upon winning last night, Jackson Jr. released a statement through a spokesman saying, "Once the doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts."

Jackson Jr. is currently at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota seeking treatment for bipolar disorder. He checked in for the second time in October. He stayed from July until September, then returned to Washington, D.C. However, Jackson Jr. cited media pressure as a reason to return to the clinic in October. "His home is under attack," said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago). Jackson Jr. did speak briefly to one of those members of the media camping out in front of his house, and while he didn't say much, but it was the most words to come straight from his mouth in a long time.

As Jackson returned to the Mayo Clinic, his colleagues Rush and Danny K. Davis (D-Chicago) said they met with Jackson Jr. and asked the public to "give him a chance to heal." Jackson did not run any campaign ads, and he did not hold any campaign events. He put out one robo-call in October in which he asked constituents for patience and said, "I am starting to heal. The good news is my health is improving, but my doctors tell me the road to recovery is a long one."

While 63 percent of the vote is a wide margin of victory, it was quite narrow compared to Jackson Jr.'s usual 80-some percent victories. That was more a result of redistricting that trapped him in a tough primary against Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson.