Once again, we hear via Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr’s wife Sandi that the AWOL representative from Illinois under investigation by the House Ethics Committee will remain in treatment even as the election approaches. According to his wife, Jackson will continue to stay at the Mayo Clinic, where he returned last week for bipolar disorder treatment. The congressman has been absent from his duties since June of this year and reportedly voted absentee in the upcoming election.

Despite this, Jackson retains a lead in the polls, pulling 58 percent of likely voters.

Enter his Republican challenger Brian Woodworth, a lawyer and educator who, though the longshot, just might have a chance to eke out a win in this predominately African American district if Jackson continues his disappearing act. Woodworth is currently pulling 27 percent of likely voters in his district. In response to a recent robocall put our by Jackson, the only peep to be heard in the months since June, Woodworth issued the following statement:

Congressman Jackson has finally reached out to his constituents through a robocall, in which he asks for patience and sympathy. We have been sympathetic towards him and prayed for his recovery from his condition. But there have been few times as critical as right now for our district to have representation, as our leaders search for answers to our economic crisis.

As we wait for the Congressman to return, we have no voice. And now the Congressman is saying he has no answer about when he will return. When Congress reconvenes, it will be deciding the fate of our nation. It will be formulating a budget. It will be deciding appropriations. It will be weighing out where federal money will be best spent to push our nation out of its crisis. And if Jackson is re-elected, we will continue to have no voice. There will be no one to stand and advocate for the critical decisions needed to get our economy rolling, and no one to negotiate for the needs of the district.
Pray for Jackson’s health and recovery but give him time to recover outside of the strain of high elected office. Do the right thing for the district and vote for a person who is capable of advocating for the 2nd Congressional District—Brian Woodworth.
Pulling off a victory like this isn’t unheard of in Illinois. In 1998, Senator Peter Fitzgerald managed a win as beleagured Senator Carol Moseley-Braun’s ethical violations mounted up. He ended up uniting both Democrats and Republicans behind his fiscally conservative, but independent approach to governing.
If Jackson wins it will only be a matter of time before party bosses force a resignation and put in another pawn of the Chicago machine. Is it too much to ask the Chicago Tribune to endorse candidate Woodworth over AWOL hospitalized and ethics-violating Jackson, rather than play Switzerland? Is it too much to hope that they would “do they right thing,” as Woodworth entreats?