Democratic Congressional nominee Robin Kelly on Tuesday claimed the endorsement of President Barack Obama in her bid to replace Jesse Jackson Jr., in the special congressional election to be held next week.
Kelly’s campaign on Tuesday issued a statement saying Obama endorsed her. She also posted a comment on her campaign’s Facebook page — one that was liked by several hundred people by Tuesday afternoon.
Presidential press aides referred questions to the Democratic National Committee, which said that Obama supports the Kelly campaign for the April 9 election.
Obama's support didn't come as a surprise. The two served together in the Illinois General Assembly in 2003-04, and several Kelly campaign staffers worked for Obama’s re-election bid last year.
In a statement released by the Kelly campaign, Obama said he wants her in Congress to help support stricter federal gun laws.
“I share Robin’s passionate advocacy to end gun violence with common sense solutions, because like her, I believe families impacted by gun violence — especially in my home city of Chicago — deserve a vote,” Obama said in the statement.
During her primary campaign, Kelly ran on the fact she is opposed by the National Rifle Association for her support of gun control laws.
Kelly, who will run against Republican Paul McKinley, Green Party member LeAlan M. Jones, and independents Curtiss Llong Bey, Marcus Lewis and Elizabeth “Liz” Pahlke, in the upcoming special election, said she was pleased to have a formal endorsement from the president.
“Since our work together in the Illinois Legislature, we have shared a vision of helping communities thrive by supporting small businesses and economic development, giving children and adults alike great education and training, and ending the cycle of gun violence,” she said.
Since the Feb. 26 primary election in which Kelly defeated more than a dozen opponents for the Democratic nomination, she has focused the bulk of her attention on fundraising and trying to gain support from groups that had supported her opponents.
Candidates in the Illinois 2nd Congressional District will take part in a forum at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Sheldon Heights Church of Christ, 11325 S. Halsted St., in Chicago. Officials with the South Suburban NAACP chapter that is sponsoring the event said Kelly will not participate in the forum, but that McKinley, Jones and Lewis will. The Times is a co-sponsor of the event.