Obama pal Cheryl Whitaker to chair Robin Kelly bid for Jesse Jackson Jr. seat

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WASHINGTON–Democratic House hopeful Robin Kelly picked up the support Monday of Obama pal Cheryl Whitaker, who will chair her primary bid for the House seat vacated by former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.)

Whitaker, a doctor, has also been a health care executive. Whitaker and her husband, Eric, an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center, are close personal friends of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle.

Kelly, a south suburban Matteson resident, is one of 17 Democrats running in the Feb. 26 primary. Winning the primary in the heavily Democratic second congressional district is tantamount to winning the April election.

With the field so crowded, a contender can be a victor with a plurality win, so any kind of base-building advantage is a boost.

“There is no better candidate in the race to stand with President Obama, Mayor Emanuel and Chairman Preckwinkle to get dangerous weapons off the streets of Chicago and the Southland,” Whitaker said in a statement.

“I have known Robin for years and I know there is no better candidate to stand up for the families of the Second District than her.”

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