State Sen. Donne Trotter has told several south suburban officials that he will officially end his bid for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional District seat that Jesse Jackson Jr. vacated last month, sources said Friday.
Trotter, 62, is scheduled to make a formal announcement on Saturday, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because they did not want to pre-empt the veteran lawmaker’s public decision. Trotter did not return phone calls to the Tribune.
The move by Trotter comes after his arrest on Dec. 5 for trying to board a Washington, D.C.-bound plane at O’Hare International Airport with an unloaded gun and a loaded magazine in his garment bag. Trotter has said he forgot putting the firearm in his bag after working a security job the previous evening.
Even after the arrest, Trotter had vowed to continue seeking the nomination. Earlier this month, he sought the formal endorsement of Democratic leaders in the South Side and south suburban congressional district. Trotter’s arrest did not come up in public discussion and ultimately the Democratic leaders were unable to agree to slate a candidate among several well-known contenders.
Despite the loss of Trotter, the field of Democratic contenders is expected to remain crowded. Candidates include state Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields, 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale of Chicago, former state Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson of Crete and state Sen.-elect Napoleon Harris of Flossmoor.
Filing of candidacy petitions for the Feb. 26 primary begins Jan. 3. Given the sizable Democratic leanings of the district, the winner of the primary is overwhelmingly the favorite in the special general election scheduled for April 9.
Some contenders in the contest had sought to use Trotter’s arrest against him politically, noting the history of a congressional district whose representatives have been surrounded by scandal. Jackson announced his resignation amid federal ethics investigations and after a diagnosis of bipolar depression.
Jackson took a medical leave from Congress in June, and his re-election campaign largely consisted of an automated phone call to voters in the district who backed him overwhelmingly on Nov. 6.
Among the announced candidates for the contest is Jackson’s predecessor, former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds, who gave up the seat in 1995 after being convicted of sex-related crimes, including having sex with an underage volunteer campaign worker.