Jesse Jackson Jr.’s mayoral bid derailed by scandal?

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Upshot
Jesse Jackson Jr. speaks at a town hall in Aug. 2009.
Jesse Jackson Jr. speaks at a town hall in Aug. 2009.

Just one week ago, Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was mulling a run for Chicago mayor and commentators cited him among the top potential candidates to replace Richard Daley.

But this week, such talk seems remote indeed. Now it seems far more likely that Jackson will sit out the mayoral race and concentrate instead on keeping his seat in Congress.

Jackson's troubles stem from new revelations about his alleged involvement in the Rod Blagojevich scandal -- and have raised the specter of a scandal in the lawmaker's personal life as well.

According to a recent Chicago Sun-Times story, Jackson reportedly instructed a fundraiser to offer Blagojevich $6 million in exchange for appointing Jackson to the U.S. Senate seat vacated when Barack Obama was elected president. And on Thursday, the Washington Post highlighted a "social acquaintance" of Jackson's who is connected to the scandal.

Responding to the Sun-Times piece, Jackson repeated his denial of any involvement in the Blagojevich pay-to-play scandal and stressed that no charges have been brought against him. In discussing the social acquaintance, however, Jackson issued a disclaimer that raised some eyebrows. The Post report concerns "a private and personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago," Jackson said. "I ask that you respect our privacy."

Jackson, son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, still remains favored in his re-election bid against Republican minister Isaac Hayes.

(Photo: Getty Images/Scott Olson)