Illinois State Sen. Toi Hutchinson dropped her bid to fill the Congressional seat of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. on Sunday after her moderate views on gun safety made her a target of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political action committee, Independence USA.
In what will be the first election since the shooting in Newton, Connecticut, the $2 million ad buy criticized Hutchison and another candidate for receiving an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). “In the race for Congress, the big issue? Fighting gun violence. Debbie Halvorson and Toi Hutchinson both earned an A from the NRA, they can’t be trusted,” the ad began before endorsing former state Rep. Robin Kelly who supports background checks and banning assault weapons.
Guns have become a central issue in the primary, as Kelly attacked her opponents’ views on gun safety and “pointed out that Hutchinson received a 92 percent rating from the NRA” and does not support a statewide concealed carry ban. She also urged all candidates to “sign on to a five-point pledge to reduce gun violence: banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, closing the gun show loophole, supporting Illinois’ conceal carry ban, and refusing support from ‘organizations that oppose reasonable gun safety legislation.'”
Neither Hutchison nor Halvorson signed on to the document, though the former sought to bolster her credentials on gun safety by releasing a video in which she highlighted her support for “the assault weapons ban and the ban on high capacity magazines favored by Gov. Pat Quinn.”
“I am simply unwilling to risk playing a role going forward that could result in dividing our community at time a when we need unity more than ever,” Hutchinson said Sunday in a statement announcing her resignation. “In the wake of horrendous gun related crimes all across our country, I agree with Robin that we need to stand together to fight gun violence.”
Hutchinson’s announcement also comes after reports detailing “alleged payments to her mother as a campaign consultant.”
A special primary will be held on February 26 and the general election is scheduled for April 9.