By Rick Pearson
3:39 PM EST, November 26, 2012
Gov.Pat Quinn today ordered a special primary election for Feb. 26 for voters in the state's 2nd Congressional District to begin the process to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
The Democratic governor also ordered a special general election for March 19 to determine who will fill Jackson's seat for the remaining two years of his term.
The primary date coincides with previously scheduled municipal primary elections. But because state law requires the special general election to be held within 115 days after a congressional vacancy occurs, Quinn could not set the general election on the same date as already set municipal elections, on April 9.
Quinn, however, said he would work with the General Assembly to try to change state law to hold the special general election on April 9. That approach is advocated by election authorities in the South Side and south suburban 2nd Congressional District as a way to lessen costs. State election officials have said the special congressional elections would cost $5 million if held separately.
Already, more than a dozen people have floated their names as potential Democratic candidates in the race to replace the 17-year Jackson, who resigned the day before Thanksgiving Day amid federal ethics investigations and a diagnosis of bipolar depression. The primary contest is expected to virtually decide the next congressman in the heavily Democratic congressional district.
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