Jesse Jackson Jr. Reaches Out to Constituents by Phone and Seeks Patience
The beleaguered congressman sends an automated phone message to his district in which he says, "I am human." The Rev. Jackson says his son will head for the hospital soon.
Jesse Jackson Jr.'s constituents heard from him this weekend for the first time since June — via a robocall in which he asks for their patience, thanks them and says he's "starting to heal."
The automated calls were received in the 2nd Congressional District Saturday, according to the Huffington Post. In the minute-and-a-half call, Jackson says:
"Like many human beings, a series of events came together in my life at the same time and they have been difficult to sort through. I am human. I am doing my best. I am trying to sort through them all. ...
"I am anxious to return to work on your behalf, but at this time it is against medical advice, and while I will always give my all to my constituents, I ask for your continued patience as I work to get my health back."
"As a father, I want his health to be his No. 1 priority,” the elder Jackson said, declining to address questions about whether Jackson would remain on the November ballot. The reverend told the Tribune his son was seeing two doctors a day in Washington. He went into the Mayo Clinic in July for treatment of bipolar II disorder and gastrointestinal issues and left in early September.
On Friday, Republicans in Will County, led by Cory Singer, a county board member and candidate for county chairman, said the congressman should resign his office and drop off the ballot if he can no longer serve.
Jackson's advocacy for a third airport in eastern Will County has never endeared him to political figures in Will County, Republican and Democrat alike.
One Will County Democrat told Patch he agreed with the Republican call for Jackson to step aside. Tim Gaffney, vice chairman of Frankfort Township Democrats and 20th precinct committeeman, said he had no problem with Republican Cory Singer's suggestion that Democrats call for Jackson's withdrawal from the election.
"I would agree with that, just based on Jackson's history," Gaffney said, pointing out Halvorson had challenged Jackson's loyalty to his constituents and called for his resignation during the primary. "I really feel that Debbie Halvorson's timing was just a tad bit off."
Jackson, a congressman for 17 years, hasn't campaigned at all this fall since winning his spring primary against former congresswoman Halvorson.
His year went from bad to worse this week when the Chicago Sun-Times exposed a months-long federal investigation into whether the nine-term Democrat used campaign funds to adorn his home.
Jackson is also the subject of a years-long House probe into allegations that a friend made campaign contributions to Rod Blagojevich (D), hoping the former Illinois governor would appoint the Chicago congressman to fill the Senate seat left open after Barack Obama was elected president.
Most recently, Jackson was the subject of a report by the website Gawker that he has been frequenting bars in Washington, D.C., even while claiming he’s too ill to return to work.
Yet even with all this drama, it's unlikely Jackson will lose the election.
His Republican opponent Brian Woodworth has been trying to use the latest developments to win some attention. But with the composition of his district, Jackson could even be sitting in a jail cell and still win re-election.