By Natasha Korecki
Candidates for the 2nd congressional race to replace disgraced former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. crisscrossed the vast, diverse South Side and south suburban district on Monday, giving last-minute pitches to turn voters their way.
Low voter turnout is already expected in the special election, but a forecast of snow on voting day had candidates worried even fewer people go to the polls.
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) was outside of a South Side Jewel grocery store on 87th Street, passing out flyers to customers and even running up to cars that slowed as they passed.
“I need your vote tomorrow!” he yelled out.
Beale said he planned a full day that would mean visits throughout the district, ending in Kankakee.
“We’re the only campaign with a ground game,” Beale claimed. “They’re running their campaign from behind a computer,” he said of his biggest rival, Robin Kelly. But Beale said it was impossible to count the number of doors his people had knocked on.
Kelly’s campaign says it knows its numbers, claiming to have 200 people scattered in the field and having knocked on 110,000 doors since January.
“We have a massive, massive field operation,” said Kelly spokesman Jonathan Blair.
At a campaign stop at BJ’s Market & Bakery, 87th and Stony Island, Kelly said she began early shaking hands at train stations and she would circle back to the stops by day’s end.
“I’m kind of known for the trains. I did it as a state rep…That’s like, my claim to fame,” she said. Door knocking and phone banks would also continue. “The troops and myself are working really hard.”
Candidate Debbie Halvorson, a onetime U.S. Rep., meanwhile, swung through the district, making stops in Chicago Heights, then heading back to her campaign office in Steger. Halvorson was to head to Kankakee by day’s end.