Former Democratic congressman and convicted sex offender Mel Reynolds announced yesterday that he is running for the Illinois House seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr. First elected to Congress in 1993, Reynolds won reelection once, but was forced to resign when he was convicted of sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, solicitation of child pornography and obstruction of justice. He was having sex with an underage campaign volunteer.
In his announcement yesterday, Reynolds, openly acknowledged his checkered past. According to the Chicago Tribune, Reynolds, who was flanked by signs that read “Redemption,” acknowledged he is “not perfect” but insisted his campaign is not “a joke.” He also indicated that he is receiving many supportive phone calls and that he is determined to “finish the work” he began nearly a decade ago.
Jackson’s seat will be filled in a special election. The Democratic primary is set to take place on February 26th, and state lawmakers are looking at April 9th as a potential date for the general election.