Opening Act: Over-rating Bloomberg

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., leaves U.S. District Court February 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. Jackson and his wife, Sandi Jackson, both pleaded guilty to federal charges after being accused of spending more than $750,000 in campaign funds to purchase luxury items, memorabilia and other goods.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Robin Kelly will be the new congresswoman from Illinois’s second district, after obliterating former Rep. Debbie Halvorson. John Nichols sums up the liberal conventional wisdom on the result.

As she claimed victory Tuesday night, Kelly told her backers, “Today you did more than cast a vote. You did more than choose a Democratic candidate for Congress… You sent a message that was heard around our state and across the nation; a message that tells the NRA that their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end.”


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has pledged to fight the NRA’s political influence nationwide, used his Independence USA political action committee to air more than $2 million to oppose Halvorson and back Kelly.

Bloomberg’s money helped, obviously, but let’s not lose ourselves in the results. One: Illinois’ second is one of the most Democratic districts in the country, one of few where a pure anti-gun message can win. Two: Halvorson ran in the 2012 primary, too, trying to take out Rep. Jesse Jackson, who was already sagging under the weight of scandal. Halvorson got creamed, winning 24 percent of the vote—similar to what she got last night. Three: The worry among Democrats was never that Halvorson would take a majority in the primary. The worry was that black Democrats would crowd the primary and allow Halvorson to win with somewhere between 25-30 percent of the vote.


Chuck Hagel’s hometown paper celebrates his confirmation.

Jennifer Rubin agonizes over it.

Let’s be clear: We have two parties: the Hagel Democrats and the pro-Israel Republicans. Only one party considers national security serious enough to place it  above loyalty to the White House. One can hardly wait for the Hagel Democrats to appear at the impotent AIPAC’s conference next month to express their support for robust Israel-U.S. relations.

A Michigan state senator asks the normal, already-answered questions about Barack Obama’s birthplace. This guy may get to cast a vote on Electoral College reform.

Marin Cogan explains how D.C. blends horrible flirting with less-horrible source-greasing.

And Alec MacGillis previews the big day of Voting Rights Act arguments. My colleague Emily Bazelon will be covering them from the Supreme Court.