Halvorson, who lost to Jackson in the 2012 primary, is standing by her positions, despite being the target of ads from Bloomberg’s Independence USA super PAC. She supports background checks for gun purchases and registration of all firearms but opposes an assault weapons ban, saying law-abiding gun owners have Second Amendment rights and a ban in Cook County hasn’t prevented gun violence.
It’s a stance that could help Halvorson among voters in the far south end of the district, where she lives. That area is more rural and home to a greater number of white voters, as well as Republicans and others who support gun rights.
Halvorson is white, while Kelly, Hutchinson and Beale — like more than half of the district — are black. If Halvorson wins enough of the vote in the south end of the district and the other three candidates split the vote in Chicago and its south suburbs, it could be enough to give Halvorson the win.
Kelly has been most aggressive on the gun issue, earning her endorsements from U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush and Danny Davis, two Chicago Democrats from neighboring districts. On Tuesday, she was to be Rush’s guest for the State of the Union address.
Kelly launched a TV ad last week touting her anti-gun record, which includes working with Obama on legislation in the Illinois General Assembly a decade ago.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face the Republican primary winner in the April 9 special general election.
If Kelly prevails, Rose said, ‘‘I think it will be kind of a signal of what’s ahead in 2014.’’