CHICAGO — Former Illinois legislator Robin Kelly captured the Democratic nomination on Tuesday in the race to replace disgraced ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., after a truncated campaign season in which she got a boost from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's super PAC.
The nomination all but assures that Kelly will sail through the April 9 general election and head to Washington, because the Chicago-area district is overwhelmingly Democratic.
From a crowded field, Kelly emerged early as a leader on gun control — a central issue during the race. Bloomberg's super PAC, Independence USA, poured more than $2 million into the race by airing anti-gun ads in her favor and against another Democratic front runner, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson.
Kelly, a former state representative from Matteson, a south Chicago suburb, favors an assault weapons ban. Halvorson, who unsuccessfully challenged Jackson in a primary last year, is against such a ban.
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