After Rush’s retirement, graduates are working to stand out in the crowded field – NBC Chicago

After 30 years in Congress, Rep. Bobby Rush’s decision not to run for re-election in 2022 triggered a rapidly evolving race to replace him, and his support could potentially play a key role in this quest.

Several candidates had already announced that they were running for the seat, even before Rush announced his announcement this week, but a new candidate jumped into the ring on Wednesday, like Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell announced his candidacy.

“I’m fine with the reception I’ve received so far,” she said.

According to the Federal Election Commission, at least seven candidates have already submitted papers stating they intend to run for the Illinois’ 1 District. The list includes Chicago teacher Kirby Birgans, activist and pastor Chris Butler, community activist Jahmal Cole, teacher Dee Nix and lawyer Michael Thompson.

Still, others are debating whether to take part in the race.

“I’m seriously considering it,” said State Senator Elgie Sims.

“Oh, no doubt (I’m considering that),” State Secretary Marcus Evans said. “The blessing part of this is that we have a lot of qualified people in the community, and I believe I’re one of them.”

With more than a dozen confirmed and potential candidates currently in the running, Rush’s support could be the key, and Sims said he would seek congressional approval if he jumped into the race.

“The legacy of the service that Congressman Rush leaves behind is certainly one we marvel at. I would love to have (his) support,” he said.

Rep. Bobby Rush will not seek re-election later this year, paving the way for a fight to replace him. NBC 5s Mary Ann Ahern, who broke the story yesterday, has more.

Although Rush has remained the mother of a possible affiliation, NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern has heard from several sources that the most likely candidate to receive the coveted boost is not holding office and has not officially announced her candidacy.

The potential candidate is Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. In 2021, her team was instrumental in the city of Chicago’s COVID vaccination efforts, and in previous years she has also worked as the Deputy Director of the State of Illinois’ Office of Urban Assistance and as a professor at Loyola.

Aside from approvals, candidates are working to put together financial commitments for their campaigns and are working to bring enough energy to increase turnout ahead of the much-contested primary election in June.

“(The key is) to make sure you’re really connected to the constituencies of the district, and to bring those resources and these services home,” Dowell said.

Both Evans and Sims said they would focus on being a voice for their communities on the national stage.

“We need a worker. We need someone who will go to DC and fight,” Evans said.

It is not clear when Rush will announce a potential endorsement of the election, but sources tell Ahern that the announcement may come as soon as this weekend.


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