Jonathan Jackson, son of Jesse Jackson Sr., wins Illinois Democratic primary for House seat

During his victory speech, Jackson thanked his mother and famous father, and vowed that "the South Side is going to Washington, D.C. with me."

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Jonathan Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., came out victorious in a crowded Democratic primary race on Tuesday for Illinois’ 1st Congressional District.

The seat, to be vacated after longtime U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush retires at the end of his term in January 2023, is a Democratic stronghold, therefore Jackson is expected to easily win in the general election. The 1st District, which is comprised of Chicago’s South Side, is majority Black and has been electing a Democrat since 1935.

Jonathan Jackson with his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, on Oct. 14, 2021 on the red carpet before a screening of “Punch 9 For Harold Washington” during the 57th Chicago International Film Festival at the AMC River East Theater in Chicago. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images)

During his victory speech, Jackson thanked his mother and famous father and vowed that “the South Side is going to Washington, D.C. with me.”

“The South Side has been left behind,” said the 56-year-old activist and former national spokesperson for Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “I want you to know the South Side of Chicago matters.”

Jackson said on the campaign trail, voters pleaded, “Don’t forget us.” He added, “I’ve been taught to lift as I climb.”

If elected in November, Jackson will be the second member of his family to go to the U.S. Congress. Jesse’s other son, Jesse Jackson Jr., served as the U.S. representative for Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District from 1995 to 2012. However, Jackson Jr. resigned days after he was re-elected for his third term after an ethics investigation was launched into his misuse of campaign funds. He pled guilty to charges of fraud and conspiracy, among other charges.

Jesse Jackson’s son, Jonathan Jackson, attends an International Conference, “Is #Auschwitz only Sleeping?,” on July 5, 2019 during the celebration of European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day in Krakow, Poland. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Jackson said he wants to attend to the needs of the 1st District, which he said: “is in pain.” In an interview with Fox 32 Chicago, he said, “I’ve seen this pain rising across the city in the region, even the nation.”

The Democratic nominee cited the fight to protect voting rights, community gun violence and declining wages as his key priorities. Speaking about the legacy of his family, Jackson said going to congress is “another opportunity to be of service.” He added that his parents were supportive of his run and participated in his campaign.

“My mother and father stayed energized and were excited,” said Jackson.

The 1st Congressional District has been represented by Rep. Rush since 1993. The 75-year-old announced his retirement earlier this year, citing a desire to spend more time with his grandchildren.

Veteran Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush listens during testimony at a House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy hearing titled “Oversight of DOE During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” (Photo: Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)

“I don’t want my grandchildren … to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper,” Rush told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I want them to know me on an intimate level, know something about me, and I want to know something about them. I don’t want to be a historical figure to my grandchildren.”

Rush endorsed Jackson’s opponent in the race, Karin Norington-Reaves, the former CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. Norington-Reaves came in third place with 14.1% of the vote. Jackson topped the 17-person race with at least 28% of the vote, according to The New York Times.

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