The progressive group Democracy for America waded into the special election to replace Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. on Thursday, pushing its members to support former state Rep. Robin Kelly in the Democratic primary against pro-gun former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson in a race that is largely dominated by the issue of gun violence. In an email the group plans to send to its members, DFA called the election "our first chance to beat the NRA this year."
"In a city ravaged by gun violence, a special election for Congress has turned into a national referendum on gun safety as two candidates go head-to-head -- one with an A rating from the NRA, the other with an F rating," the DFA email reads, which was also posted to the group's blog. "Robin Kelly has an F rating from the NRA and she's wearing it as a badge of honor. Her main opponent, conservative former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, has an A rating from the NRA."
The email, which will be sent to the group's more than 1 million members, noted that there were over 500 murders in Chicago last year, the vast majority of which were due to gun violence.
The primary is on Feb. 26. A third major contender in the race is 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale of Chicago. In the solidly blue district, the primary winner is expected to go on to win the seat.