Jonathan Jackson, son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, jumps in crowded primary for Rep. Bobby Rush seat

Jackson joins an increasingly crowded Democratic primary.

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Jonathan Jackson (left), the son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, announce a run for Congress on Friday.

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WASHINGTON — Jonathan Jackson, son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, on Friday afternoon announced a run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Bobby Rush, becoming at least the 13th candidate so far in the Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District.

Jackson launches his congressional bid with a running start provided by his father, a civil rights leader, two-time presidential candidate and founder of Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The younger Jackson is familiar with his father’s extensive national fundraising and political network.

Jackson registered as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, telling the Sun-Times he would first launch an “exploratory” campaign to assess his fundraising ability and political support and decide by Feb. 7 if he would run in the increasingly crowded 1st District contest.

By late Friday afternoon, however, Jackson, 56,  firmed things up, sending  out a release stating he has an “intention to run” for the seat Rush has held for 15 terms.

The new boundaries of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush’s 1st Congressional District are in purple and highlighted.

The new boundaries of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush’s 1st Congressional District are in purple and highlighted.

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If elected, Jackson, said in his statement, he “would focus on creating jobs and increasing workforce skills, family economic security, improving public transportation, increasing access and affordability of health care and expanding daycare so parents can work without having to worry about their children.”

Jackson runs a construction contracting company based in Bronzeville and lives in Jackson Park Highlands. His home is across the street from his parents and just about a block outside the boundaries of the 1st District.

In his statement, he said if elected, he would move into the geographically large district, which runs from parts of the South Side almost to Kankakee.

Jackson attended Pershing Elementary School through 6th grade, then Le Mans Academy, a military boarding school in Indiana, and Whitney Young High School. His undergraduate degree is from North Carolina A&T University, and he has an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

His wife, Marilyn Jackson, is the new CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky. The couple, with three children, has a commuter marriage.

Jackson’s older brother, ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., resigned his 2nd Congressional District seat in November 2012, under an ethics cloud. Jesse and his now-former wife, one-time Ald. Sandi Jackson, went to prison after looting $750,000 from campaign funds between 2005 and 2012 to pay for a lavish lifestyle. The couple pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom in Washington on Feb. 20, 2013.

Interactive map of new Illinois congressional districts; click on a district to check its number:

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