Magazine article Newsweek

Battle of the Scions? Jesse Jackson Jr. Eyes a Run at Chicago's Mayor

Magazine article Newsweek

Battle of the Scions? Jesse Jackson Jr. Eyes a Run at Chicago's Mayor

Article excerpt

Byline: Dirk Johnson

He is not your father's Jesse Jackson. U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., a Chicago Democrat, has never made a habit of seeking media attention. "In 10 years in Congress, I've had probably 15 press conferences," he says. "Dad had 15 yesterday." The 40-year-old Jackson is getting more attention these days, though, as speculation grows that he might launch a bid to unseat Mayor Richard M. Daley, a powerhouse long thought to be untouchable. Jackson has been stepping up criticism of Daley over a scandal involving city workers' collecting payoffs on trucking contracts. Some 28 people have been charged by federal prosecutors and 19 have already pleaded guilty, including nine city workers. Daley has said that he had no knowledge of the wrongdoing, which included bribery and, in some cases, city workers' owning trucking businesses with city-hall contracts, a practice that is illegal. Acknowledging "a pattern of problems," Daley has ordered widespread shake-ups in city departments, including a raft of firings. The mayor, who has been in office for 15 years, has not been accused of any wrongdoing himself. But Jackson says Daley must take responsibility for "fraud and abuse that is running rampant," and said, "The city can do better." Jackson says he has no plans to run for mayor in 2007, but adds, "I haven't foreclosed any possibilities." When Jackson called for an ambitious citywide voter-registration drive recently, there was even more talk of a potential mayoral bid.

Daley, whose father, Richard J. Daley, governed the city for 21 years, has shrugged at the notion of a Jackson bid, telling reporters, "I have challenges all the time." Most political analysts are skeptical that Jackson, in the end, will mount a bid against Daley, who has enjoyed strong support from whites and blacks alike in recent elections. …

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