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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. remains ahead in polls even in his absence


Despite battling mental illness and being absent from his job in Congress and his current campaign, Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. is still the favorite to win reelection on Nov. 6

More than three months have passed since Jackson, 47, a Democrat first elected in 1995, dropped out of public sight. It was later revealed that he was hospitalized for severe depression and gastrointestinal problems.

According to his wife, Sandi Jackson, Congressman Jackson has no plans to step aside.
“He is on the ballot and he’s going to stay on the ballot,” Sandi Jackson said. “And I’m looking forward to him coming back to work after his re-election. No last minute switcheroos. He would never do that and I would never want that for him.”

Though he still seems to be doing well in the polls, some constituents are beginning to grow wary that Jackson may not be able to adhere to his duties as congressman because of his illness. But, aside from the fact that the 2nd Congressional District is heavily democratic, Jackson’s two rivals on the ballot also lack both name recognition and campaign cash.

Republican challenger Brian Woodworth, 41, says he is getting no financial help from the national GOP and has spent only $11,000. Independent Marcus Lewis, 53, says he expects his campaign to cost $3,500. Jackson, according to his most recent report, had nearly $250,000 in campaign money at his disposal.

Sandi Jackson said she isn’t sure what form of communication her husband will use to reach out to the voters before Election Day, if he is able to at all. “We’re talking about what can be done and when, but I don’t have an answer to that,” she said.