Illinois House candidate withdraws after gun charges
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is stepping down from his seat in the U.S. House.
December 29th, 2012
02:28 PM ET
2 years ago

Illinois House candidate withdraws after gun charges

(CNN) - Illinois state Sen. Donne Trotter, who was considered by some the frontrunner in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., dropped out Saturday, almost three weeks after prosecutors say he attempted to bring a gun through an airport security checkpoint.

"Today, I formally announce my intention to end my candidacy for that position," the Chicago Democrat told local elected officials, constituents and reporters Saturday in Chicago.

He said he did not intend to make an immediate endorsement, especially as the filing period for the February 26 Democratic primary has not yet begun.

"I know several of the people who are in the race, as I understand it may be 16 or 18" candidates, Trotter said.

But Trotter, who is his party's caucus chairman in the state Senate, said he would be active in the process of electing a successor.

"I do intend to ask the hard questions, demand meaningful answers and do my part in Springfield to help meet the critical needs of the second congressional district," he said. "We need to get to know them better, and we have a short window of opportunity to do that."

Jackson was elected for the 10th time to the U.S. House in November but resigned that month, citing his health. He had been absent from Washington since last spring, and his office said that he was at the Mayo Clinic "receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder."

The FBI and the House Ethics Committee were investigating his financial dealings. In his resignation letter, Jackson wrote, "During my journey I have made my share of mistakes."

"I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with my investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone," he wrote. "None of us is immune from our share of shortcomings or human frailties and I pray that I will be remembered for what I did right."

He is the son of the civil rights leader. Jackson recorded an automated call to voters, but he made no campaign appearances. He was re-elected with 63% of the vote.

Trotter was arrested on December 5 and charged with attempting to bring a handgun and bullets through security at Chicago’s O'Hare Airport, according to CNN affiliates WGN and WLS. The reports said he told police the gun was inadvertently left in his bag after working at his job as a security guard. He is a licensed gun owner and security guard, according to the report.

After his arrest, Trotter initially said he would remain in the race and was among 16 candidates who sought to convince Democratic leaders to select him as the candidate at a party meeting this month.

But no candidate was selected, and instead, there will be an open primary in February. The general election to fill the seat will be on April 9. Candidates can file for the primary between January 3 and 7.

Trotter has served in the state Senate since 1993, and before that served in the state House.

– CNN's Alan Duke and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.


Filed under: Illinois • Jesse Jackson Jr.
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Xira

    It's sad that since we lost means rea and the 4th, we have no protection from having our lives ruined for a simple silly forgetful mistake like this.

    It was obvious that he didn't intend to harm anyone, and that the gun wasn't a bomb, but they didn't care. They jack-booted him anyway.

    December 29, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Name lynn

    whats wrong with donne trying to bring a gun through the airport all that security they have at the airport if he didnt want that seat if just could have said he didnt want it

    December 29, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. empresstrudy

    In Illinois politics you get two basic choices: criminals and the insane. Pick one.

    December 29, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The reports said he told police the gun was inadvertently left in his bag after working at his job as a security guard. He is a licensed gun owner and security guard, according to the report."

    Oops. Another responsible gun owner who lost track of his gun. And a security guard to boot. Luckily, his gun never left his bag. Well, OK, not for him. But just think who might have gotten access to that gun of his...if he'd misplaced that bag of his...holding that gun of his.

    Hey America. It's 3:00 pm. Do you know where your guns are?

    December 29, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. JC in KC

    Another reason to Fed-Ex your luggage or belongings, I never ever travel with bags or luggage, I Fed-EX everything a day or two ahead of my travel. This keeps the TSA from going through your belongings and nothing gets lost or stolen. My FEX-EX package is waiting at my hotel for me untouched. I ship back home that way too... No waiting for luggage nothing is lost and it saves you money from paying extra baggage fee's....

    December 29, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. GTA

    Why is a photo of Jesse Jackson Jr. above a headline about someone else?

    December 29, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Diogenes

    Your tunes wouldnt sound so sad if he were white. Instead you would be screaming out for his neck in a noose.

    December 29, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The reports said he told police the gun was inadvertently left in his bag after working at his job as a security guard. He is a licensed gun owner and security guard, according to the report."

    Oops. Another responsible gun owner who lost track of his gun. And a security guard to boot. Luckily, his gun never left his bag. Well, OK, not for him. But just think who might have gotten access to that gun of his...if he'd misplaced that bag of his...holding that gun of his.

    Hey America. It's 3:00 pm. Do you know where your guns are?

    December 29, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. doofus

    Why is there a pic of JJ Jr at the top of the article when, really, it's not about him at all. How misleading is that...

    December 29, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. norma jean

    Why do so many men think that owning guns will prove that they are MEN?......I've never known a man that NEEDED one!!!!!

    December 29, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Sagebrush Shorty

    It's Chicago. That's all that needs to be said.

    December 29, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |