Gov. Pat Quinn today defended his endorsement of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., saying the congressman deserves to return to Washington despite an ongoing ethics probe.
The governor threw his support behind Jackson via news release on Sunday, choosing not to appear with the embattled Jackson.
“I think he’s delivered over and over again for Illinois, as I said in my statement,” Quinn said when he was asked about the endorsement following an unrelated event on Tuesday.
Quinn said he was “not against” Jackson challenger Debbie Halvorson, who last year publicly lobbied for a spot as Quinn’s head of the Department of Transportation following her 2010 election loss to Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
“I just think Congressman Jackson is the best (candidate),” Quinn said.
Jackson has also been endorsed by President Barack Obama, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Only Pelosi announced her support in person with Jackson, and she didn't take questions.
Jackson is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee over allegations that his supporters offered more than $1.5 million to disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for Jackson filling Obama'sU.S. Senate vacancy. Jackson has denied any knowledge of such an offer.
Halvorson, a former one-term congresswoman from Crete, has sought to use the Jackson investigation to say the congressman is too preoccupied to deal with issues in the new 2nd District, which stretches from the South Side to Kankakee.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun