Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) listens to his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, speak on health care reform during a town hall meeting at the Sheldon Heights Church of Christ August 18, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The congressman addressed various aspects of the plan for about an hour before inviting his father to speak to the standing-room-only crowd. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO—By early Monday evening, 22 candidates made the deadline to file nominating petitions announcing their candidacy for the 2nd Congressional District Seat, formerly held by Jesse Jackson Jr.

Since Jackson Jr.’s November resignation, several have showed interest in the position or have been rumored to be interested, but only 22 were able to present at least 1,256 signatures qualifying them to run.

Among those not previously named, Joyce Washington, who vied for the U.S. Senate in 2004, announced her candidacy Sunday and filed by the Monday 5 p.m. deadline. So did conservative political commentator Lenny McAllister.

Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, who lost the Democratic primary election in 2012 when Jackson Jr. grabbed 71 percent of the votes, has a second chance to gain the coveted seat. She insists that she has a leg up on the competition because of her congressional experience.

Halvorson, although considered a favorite, will have to beat two other favorites, including her former chief of staff State Senator Toi Hutchinson and former State Representative Robin Kelly.

Following a year where the Chicago area experienced a higher volume of gun crime, key issues for this new state representative will undoubtedly include gun control and a proposed ban on assault weapons.

While five Republican candidates are currently in the race, the Feb. 26 Democratic primary winner is almost certain to win the April 9 special general election in the heavily-Democratic district.

Although 22 established party candidates have met their deadline to file to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat, Independent and new party candidates have until Feb. 4 to bid for the position. Independent candidates need between 15,682 and 25,095 signatures, while new party candidates must get at least 15,682 signatures to file.

Democrats running for the 2nd Congressional District seat:
Debbie Halvorson, of Crete
Toi Hutchinson, of Olympia Fields
Robin Kelly, of Matteson
Anthony Beale, of Chicago
Mel Reynolds, of Dolton
Napoleon Harris, of Flossmoor
Larry D. Pickens, of Chicago
Ernest B. Fenton, of Markham
Patrick O. Brutus, of Chicago
Anthony Williams, of Dolton
Joyce Washington, of Chicago
Fatimah N. Muhammad, of Chicago
Charles Rayburn, of Dolton
Clifford J. Eagleton, of Harvey
Victor Jonathan (formerly known as Victor Onafuye), of Country Club Hills
John Blyth, of Chicago
Gregory Haynes, of Lynwood

Republicans running for the 2nd Congressional District seat:
Lenny McAllister, of Maywood
Eric M. Wallace, of Flossmoor
Paul McKinley, of Chicago
Beverly E. Reid, of Chicago
James H. Taylor Sr., of Bradley

Candidate information courtesy of the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Renita D. Young is a Chicago-based multimedia journalist. Follow her on Twitter @RenitaDYoung.