Absence of Jesse Jackson, Jr. Making Constituency Increasingly Impatient
It has been over three months since Jesse Jackson, Jr. mysteriously disappeared. It was later reported that he was suffering from severe depression and then later still, that he also suffered from gastrointestinal problems.
Lately, the mystery seems to be whether or not he has recovered and when he will return to his job in Congress and his campaign. It was reported that he would be back on his campaign by Labor Day and now Labor Day has come and gone.
Recently the media reported that Jackson was selling his home in Washington to help pay his medical bills and his wife was reported to have said that he will only be back to work after he gets his doctor’s approval.
The people in his hometown of Chicago are now starting to get impatient with Jackson’s absence from both his job in Congress and his campaign
When questioned, his aides have verified that Jackson’s name is still on the ballot although he has not made any appearnces since the primary in the spring. His wife, Sandi Jackson, who is also a Chicago Alderman, has also been quiet about the details of what is happening but has repeatedly said that she has no intention of stepping in and taking his place.
Jackson’s opponent, Brian Woodworth, a college professor and Republican, is taking advantage of Jackson’s absence, asking,
“You ask anyone in this district, which one of them could take 90 days off of work?”
Woodworth’s campaign is considered to be a long shot considering that he is a Republican running in a a mostly South Side district full of Democrats. He goes on to say,
“Voters should be paying attention to this.For the last three months, almost four, he’s ignored them. He’s hidden from the press. He’s ignored the people. He’s neglected his job.”
Woodworth isn’t the only critical voice being heard. Even editorial writers who were sympathetic to Jackson are now asking Jackson to speak up about what he intends to do. In his district, constituents are also becoming more and more anxious to hear from him.
A month ago, Jackson went back to his Washington home after spending some time in the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. The 47 year old son of the civil rights icon, Jessie Jackson, had been expected to easily win a re-election.
According to spokesman, Frank Watkins, Jackson is still on the ballot and is “still at home under a doctor’s care”.
Jackson’s father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, has refused to say too much about his son’s situation and his wife has avoided reporters at City Council meetings as well as at a recent birthday party and fundraiser.
Replacing Jackson on the ballot would be very tricky because of how close the elections are. Also, Ballots with Jackson’s name have already been mailed to troops overseas which makes it even more of a challenge.
There is speculation that if Jackson resigns, he will do so after winning re-election so that a special election will be decided by voters.