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Jesse Jackson Jr. May Face 2012 Race Against Debbie Halvorson

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Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson said Friday she’s looking at challenging fellow Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in the recently redrawn 2nd district.

Halvorson, who was defeated for re-election in 2010 after serving just one term, told the Southtown Star she filed her candidacy paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. She said she’s been “asked to run by constituents who feel they are not represented” but cautioned she has not made a final decision.

Earlier this year, Illinois Democrats redrew the state’s Congressional map, moving Jackson’s 2nd district south to include exurban collar counties outside his southern Cook County base. The district’s geographical shift gives Jackson some new territory — and perhaps allows Halvorson an opportunity for a political comeback.

Jackson and Halvorson both live in the predominantly Democratic 2nd district under the new map. Jackson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, represented south of Chicago for more than a decade, but Halvorson represented southern Will and Kankakee counties as a state Senator.

Tensions ran high between the two Democrats while they were both in Congress, and when Halvorson served in the state Senate. In particular, Halvorson and Jackson sparred over the nascent south suburban airport.

Halvorson was forthright in her criticism of Jackson in the interview with the local newspaper. Jackson’s office did not return a message seeking comment on Friday.

“He [Jackson] lives in D.C.,” Halvorson told the newspaper. “He doesn’t come home on weekends. His kids go to school in D.C.”

Halvorson lost re-election last November to now-Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R), 43 percent to 57 percent. Kinzinger has not announced in which district he will seek re-election.

But Halvorson held on to some campaign cash following her loss. She reported $222,000 in the bank at the end of July. Jackson, meanwhile, reported slightly more cash on hand  — $306,000 — at that same point in time.

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