Will County Republicans called for U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago) to resign Friday and quit his re-election bid amid multiple federal investigations.
GOP members met outside of the Will County Courthouse on Friday and posed a united challenge to Will County Democratic candidates to withdraw their support of Jackson Jr.
The congressman is reportedly under federal investigation for accusations of misusing campaign money to decorate his $1.3 million Washington D.C. home.
He's on the ballot in the 2nd Congressional District, which represents parts of Chicago and suburban Cook County including Chicago Heights, Flossmoor and Homewood. In newly redrawn maps, the 2nd District extended south past Kankakee.
VOTE: Should Jesse Jackson Jr. resign?
Jackson's opponents, Brian Woodworth and Marcus Lewis, have both questioned the congressman's ability to lead after he was absent for several months and diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. Jackson's office announced he was home from the Mayo Clinic in September.
Cory Singer, who is running for Will County executive against Democratic incumbent Larry Walsh, called on Jackson Jr. to "step down" from his post but said the Bipolar II disorder was not the reason.
"It's not the mental illness," Singer said. "A lot of people suffer from that ... and it's treated."
The bigger issues concern the U.S. House Ethics Committee investigation in regard to Jackson's alleged involvement in the U.S. Senate seat vacancy as Barack Obama became president, along with a probe into alleged misuse of political campaign funds.
Mokena's Dave Carlson, the Republican candidate for state's attorney against incumbent James Glasgow, was cautious about discussing the allegations about Jackson.
Speaking as a lawyer, Carlson said, the investigations against Jackson cause great concern. "If he's indicted, then we have facts on what things they are alleging."
Furthermore, Singer challenged the Will County Democratic Party to review its support of Jackson.
"The Democratic Party continues to support his re-election, and they're choosing their politics over Will County. He said none of the Will County Democratic candidates have wavered from the political party line that supports Jackson.
However, Tim Gaffney, vice chairman of Frankfort Township Democrats and 20th precinct committeeman, had no problem with Singer's suggestion to call for Jackson to withdraw from the election.
"I would agree with that, just based on Jackson's history," Gaffney said. "Jackson was under some clouds for the past couple years, and now those clouds are raining. He's been basically avoiding good government."
He pointed out that last year Debbie Halvorson, while running for the 2nd Congressional District, challenged Jackson's loyalty to his constituents and called for his resignation then.
"I really feel that Debbie Halvorson's timing was just a tad bit off," Gaffney said.
—Chicago Heights Patch editor Chris Paicely contributed to this article.
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