U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. enjoys a 54 percent to 32 percent lead against challenger Debbie Halvorson in Illinois’ 2nd District Congressional race, according to the latest poll by We Asked America.
Jackson has the endorsements of key Democratic Party leaders, from Barack Obama to Rahm Emanuel. The latest to endorse the 17-year congressman is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
The Jackson campaign has shaped discussion of the race lately by focusing on times in Congress when he voted differently than Halvorson, who served Illinois’ 11th District between January 2009 and January 2011.
Some of the votes Jackson's campaign has highlighted do not indicate Halvorson’s ultimate vote on a major issue, but some of the votes do show that Halvorson was less progressive than Jackson on key issues.
Materials from Jackson’s campaign indicate that when Halvorson served as Illinois’ 11th District representative between January 2009 and January 2011, she cast 1,655 votes.
Jackson and Halvorson voted differently 133 times; in 88 of those votes, Halvorson sided with the majority of Republicans, while Jackson sided with the majority of Democrats.
Here’s a look at a few notable differences in their voting records:
* Halvorson opposed the initial version of the sweeping Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, Congress’s signature response to the 2008 financial meltdown.
More importantly, Halvorson also voted against a number of related measures to regulate credit default swaps, the financial instruments that helped precipitate the meltdown.
As Halvorson’s campaign pointed out in an e-mail, she did vote for the final version of Dodd-Frank. As for her initial ‘no’ vote, Halvorson’s campaign asserted that, “Many of my constituents had concerns about the effects that the draft of the Dodd-Frank bill would place on small community banks.”
Although, Halvorson voted for the final Dodd-Frank bill, this line about hurting small community banks is the same reason Republicans use to oppose financial regulations, including the very reasoning GOP candidates for president use to call for a repeal of Dodd-Frank.
* Jackson’s campaign notes that Halvorson voted against a bill in 2010 establishing a Bureau of Energy and Resource Management, following the three-month long Deepwater Horizon (or BP) oil spill which took place in 2010 and is the largest marine oil spill in history. The bill included a provision that oil companies must pay full legal liability for oil spills. Halvorson was the only Illinois Democrat to vote against the bill and was one of just seven Dems in all of Congress to do so.
* Jackson’s campaign has stated that Halvorson voted against clean energy jobs. But the evidence here is arguably thin.
Halvorson did vote against a motion to consider the landmark “cap and trade bill” that set limits on greenhouse gas emissions and proposed money for clean energy jobs.
Halvorson, though, like Jackson, joined most House Democrats in voting for the final cap-and-trade bill in June 2009. The bill narrowly passed the House and died in the Senate. “All votes, even procedural votes, are important,” says Jackson campaign spokesman Kevin Lampe, as to why Jackson’s campaign chose to highlight this vote.
Besides these votes, the Jackson campaign also has a new ad out that shows health care workers who support Jackson, with a woman in a nurse's uniform saying "Because of Jesse, we have 1,200 more health care workers, Obama's new health care law and access to better care. And I have a job.” The $33,000 ad buy also highlights Jackson’s endorsement from President Obama.
UPDATE (1:05 p.m.): Mayor Rham Emanuel has endorsed Jackson Jr. in the 2nd District race.