Toi Hutchinson announced Sunday that she has withdrawn from the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat, and will be backing Robin Kelly to oppose former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson.
"Robin is a friend, and has captured momentum in pulling our community together," said Hutchinson in a release. "I am simply unwilling to risk playing a role going forward that could result in dividing our community at time when we need unity more than ever. In the wake of horrendous gun related crimes all across our country, I agree with Robin that we need to stand together to fight gun violence, but Debbie Halvorson been (sic) wrong headed in her refusal to moderate her views on banning dangerous assault weapons."
Hutchinson recently came under criticism by Kelly after a past National Rifle Association questionnaire revealed 'A' ratings. Hutchinson said the Sandy Hook shooting changed her mind, though Kelly said in a release that her mind was only changed when "she entered a race for Congress where her past support of the NRA’s agenda was no longer politically convenient.”
Hutchinson also faced criticism from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Independence Public Action Committee in regard to gun control, according to Sun Times Media.
Kelly noted in the same statement about Hutchinson's withdrawal from the 2nd District race that she and Hutchinson "haven’t agreed on everything, we have a strong mutual respect, share a passion for public service and dedication to the people in Chicago and the Southland."
Hutchinson's withdrawl also brings Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle into Kelly's support camp, as she originally was backing the state senator.
"I’m proud of Toi for agreeing to put voters before her own ambitions," Preckwinkle said in the same statement. "She is young and has a bright future ahead of her. I did not want to see her campaign close with negative attacks at a time when Robin Kelly is surging with momentum to capture the Democratic nomination for Congress."
Preckwinkle also criticizes Halvorson's stance on gun control and other positions in the statement.
"During Debbie Halvorson’s one term in Congress, she opposed President Obama on dozens of issues including critical Wall St. reform and extending benefits for the long term unemployed," Preckwinkle said in the statement.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky also weighed in on Hutchinson's decision in the same release, describing the 2nd District race as "too important for the party to remain divided."
"I applaud her for doing what is best for the Democratic Party today and joining the Kelly campaign so Robin can go to Washington to work with me and President Obama for common sense gun safety laws," Schakowsky said in the statement.
This latest added support for Kelly follows endorsements from Illinois congressmen Bobby Rush and Danny Davis.
Representatives for Halvorson said a statement on Hutchinson's withdrawal is expected later Sunday.
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