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Was it Peotone or the President? How Did Jesse Do It?

Pundits are taking a closer look at Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his large-margin victory over rival Debbie Halvorson.

CNN commentator Roland S. Martin pulled no punches in a tweet describing U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s big win over his formidable opponent.

"Man, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. destroyed former Rep. Debbie Halvorson," Martin said in a tweet. "He got 71 percent of the vote. She will go into witness protection tomorrow!"

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But why was Jackson able to win by such a large margin? Several news outlets are asking that very question, and the answers run the gamut.

CBS2 reporter Derrick Blakley, summed up several reasons for Halvorson's loss in his election night report:

In the end, she simply could not compete with Congressman Jackson's major name recognition, his support of the Democratic establishment, and of course those broadcast ads all over radio and TV that portray Congressman Jackson as President Obama's right-hand man.

Was it really that simple? Maybe. But Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell pointed out the ineffectiveness of mudslinging when discussing Jackson's victory with Fox News reporters.

"It really shows that sometimes negative campaigning does not work," Mitchell said in criticizing Halvorson's effort.

Mitchell also drew attention to widespread support for Jackson's Abraham Lincoln National Airport plans.

"For all the criticism that he's gotten about Peotone, that's hope in terms of his district," Mitchell said. "People really expect something to happen. That's the reason he was able to get so many pastors and churches behind him."

A South Suburban airport has been Jackson's big project for several years, for good reason. If all his speeches on the subject are true, it could be a catalyst for economic upswing. Still, Halvorson was supportive of an airport in the South Suburbs as well.

So maybe the reason for Jackson's win is much simpler. Political analyst Avis Lavelle attributed it, in part, to his increased willingness to pound the pavement.

"This race forced him to have to get out and meet people and press the flesh in a way that I don't think he's ever had to do," LaVelle said to CBS reporters.

Regardless, many believe Jackson's biggest challenge is over. He will face Republican Brian Woodworth this fall, and is favored to win by a considerable figure.

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What's your take on the ease of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s victory? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

nick March 23, 2012 at 07:13 PM
JJ Jr. has 'family values', unfortunately his are rotten to the core.
nick March 23, 2012 at 07:28 PM
read about the corrupt Jackson family here: http://www.wnd.com/2002/03/13339/
brent Stevenson March 24, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Jessie Jr. played the race card to the hilt !! Also a lot of people don not know that they could have requested a Democrat ballot and voted against Jessie Jr. - Then you had quite a few that voted for him because he was black and running against that white woman !!
R Type March 25, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Both candidates were bad options. When are we going to get some real candidates so we can get some real change?
JWoman March 30, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Along with the others who have found Jackson to be accessible, his voting record has generally been right in line with my values...and in many instances he has NOT sided with the President. But the main reason I voted for JJJ in this election was my disgust with the slanderous messages left by Halvorson's PACs on my answering machine. These messages consisted only of rants, complaints, and unproven statements about buying the Senate seat. Never did any of these messages focus on Halvorson's strengths or vision. I went to her campaign office to voice my disapproval, and rather than turning my visit into an opportunity to plug Halvorson, the staff merely said, "We have nothing to do with the PAC."

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