CHICAGO | Freshman state Sen. Napoleon Harris has dropped his bid for former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.'s seat and is putting his support behind former state Rep. Robin Kelly.
Harris just started his first term in the state Senate. He's a former Northwestern University football player who played seven years in the NFL.
Harris announced his endorsement of Kelly on Wednesday, saying she's the right candidate for the job.
“Even though I am ending my bid for Congress today, I am still committed to fighting for the same causes that led me to enter this race,” Harris said in a prepared statement. “I believe we need to fight for more educational opportunity, better jobs and to get guns out of the hands of criminals and gangs that are preying on our neighborhoods. I believe Robin Kelly is the right candidate to pick up that cause to fight for the people of Chicago and the Southland.”
Harris had been considered one of five front-runners in the race. Top Democrats in the race now include Kelly, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale and former U.S. representative Debbie Halvorson, of Crete.
The primary for the special election is Feb. 26.
The district includes Chicago neighborhoods, south suburbs and some rural areas.
Jackson resigned in November from the seat he's held since 1995. He cited his health and acknowledged he's under federal investigation.
Hutchinson recently garnered support from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
There are five Republicans who are also in the race and 12 other Democrats.