Patch Exclusives: Get to Know the 2nd District Congressional Candidates

To help you make a truly informed decision on Feb. 26, Chicago Heights Patch editor Christopher Paicely is conducting one-on-one interviews with every candidate willing to sit down with him.

Dear Residents of the 2nd Congressional District,

Who should represent you? Do you know? 

Sure, maybe you know who you won’t vote for, but is there any candidate in this race with all the qualities you seek in a federal representative?

A campaign mailer or a one-off news story can only tell you so much about a person. That’s why Patch is attempting a closer look at the 21 candidates fighting for your favor. We are setting up interviews with as many candidates as we can before the Feb. 26 special primary election and creating a comprehensive election guide, the likes of which you haven’t seen.

I’m asking each candidate questions specific to them and getting the kinds of answers that can’t always be conveyed in a questionnaire. I'm finding out more about Robin Kelly than her position on gun control. I'm getting honest answers from James Taylor about the so-called ignored parts of the 2nd District. I'm finding out why past candidates like Debbie Halvorson and Anthony Williams haven't given up.

The 2013 Patch Election Guide is a running narrative with more information being added every day. Hopefully, these video interviews will bring you closer to understanding the bloated ballot on Election Day. 

Here is a list of the candidates:


  • Joyce Washington, of Chicago
  •  (dropped out)
  • Mel Reynolds, of Dolton
  • John Blyth, of Chicago


  • Lenny McAllister, of Maywood
  • Paul McKinley, of Chicago
  • Beverly E. Reid, of Chicago

Feel free to join the conversation in the comments under each interview. Something tells me the candidates will be paying close attention to what you have to say. You can only join the discussion if you have a Patch user account, so feel free to sign up.

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Ooftus Gooftus January 30, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Everybody. Who is your candidate of preference? Everyone is complaining like tidy-whiteys are too tight, without presenting a candidate. Just like Mr. Magoo...youse is blindly hiking up the trail to nowhere.
BlackHawks Fan January 30, 2013 at 05:42 PM
The bigger question is why hasn’t the Republican Party come up with a viable candidate for D2? I would think with the state of the Illinois economy a good Republican could garnish enough votes with the redistricting of D2.
Dinkum January 30, 2013 at 10:27 PM
BF, that's an easy one. A Repub hasn't got a snowball's chance in......of winning an election in D2.
Juvenal January 30, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Christopher, how about asking each of these candidates what their individual/personal (not household) income was last year , and on an average basis for the last three years, and how much of that income has come from government and how much from private sector sources. I think that can tell us a lot about where they are coming from, what they have accomplished in the real world, and how susceptible each may be to financial pressures and temptations that have ensnared so many of our legislators....
Keith Smith January 31, 2013 at 01:52 AM
"D2 is a very diverse district. And we need visionary leaders who can drive change for ALL voters." If this is what your looking for check out Lenny McAllister. Vossionary leadership is what he is all about.
Keith Smith January 31, 2013 at 02:13 AM
The best kept secret in the IL 2nd Congressional District race is that Republican Lenny McAllister could beat most Democratic candidates and win this seat. There is no incumbent, and this is the first race in the new district. This new district has disgruntled Democrats in southern Cook County, eastern Will County and much of Kankakee County who will support him in the April 9 general election. Republicans are gearing up to turn out the vote for their favorite Lenny McAllister. McAllister is a well known former announcer on local radio station WVON and has high positive name recognition in the district. McAllister is raising substantial money and spending it using high touch methods. On April 9, 2013, this upset will be the shocker the whole world is talking about. Most savvy news readers will remember it was mentioned here first. 90% chance of winning. www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=781310 Lenny McAllister
Joe Lake January 31, 2013 at 02:13 AM
Lenny is not on the ballot--yet. Joe Lake, Chicago
Joe Lake January 31, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Lenny is not on the ballot--yet. Joe Lake, Chicago
Christopher Paicely (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Not a bad idea, Juvenal. That sounds like a question more or less aimed at the candidates with recent political experience or that are currently holding office.
Stuart Kurtz January 31, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Arthur, my vote will cancel yours. Sensible controls on guns and gun ownership, e.g., limiting the size of clips, requiring background checks, training, and periodic re-examination will in the long run serve to support, not undermine second amendment rights. You make the claim that a small percentage of our population is effected by or participating in gun violence. As regards "effected by," you're clearly mistaken, as the effected do not include only those who have actually been criminally shot, it includes everyone who has had to change their behavior to account for the risk that they might be. As regards "participating in," background checks and licensing can remove many of the unsuitable (those with a criminal record, those with psychiatric problems) from the pool of gun owners. Firearms advocates often make an analogy with cars. But cars are heavily regulated. The vehicles and drivers are separately licensed. Laws regarding vehicle use are effectively enforced. Periodic re-examination of drivers is required. Do you think our streets would be safer if we eliminated the requirement that drivers be licensed? If we pursued a hands-off policy w.r.t. enforcement of driving laws? Do you think the efforts to regulate automobile ownership and use a precursor to eliminating automobiles?
Stuart Kurtz January 31, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Juvenal, I'm assuming you voted for Mitt Romney last year. If so, how do your reconcile your position that the political candidates for the 2nd congressional district ought to make effective disclosure of their finances with Mr. Romney's refusal to do likewise? And indeed, the sensible precedent he refused to follow was one that was established by his father, and can't we infer something of his character from that? When Donald Trump was candidate for Republican Presidential nominations, did you note the several bankruptcies by companies he controlled, and did this figure into your decision to vote for or against him? I don't recall this figuring into the public discussion of his qualifications, indeed, rather the opposite, i.e., that we needed his kind of business skills in government. In the main, I think your intuition is correct—that the stewardship of one's private funds gives some indication of the stewardship of public funds. But I very much have the sense that you're concern trolling here. There are much bigger questions on the table: How do they understand the role of government in our society? What is their position on the major questions of the day (government spending, infrastructure, debt, employment, immigration, energy, climate change, gun control, abortion)? These are the questions of the day, and not the financial difficulties of the better part of a decade ago.
Dan January 31, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Agreed Juvenal. This is a big tell as to what one can accomplish on a personal level. For most of these candidates that would indicate their ineptness. Of course, the votes will fall where the party line pleases. The sheep will vote for Toi because Preckwinkle endorsed her. Never mind her personal financial status or the fact that she was appointed to her current position which indicates she is unable to get things done for herself and will vote as her party tells her. Just another pawn for the Illinois dems. I really wish things would change but I've observed too much in Illinois to believe it can.
Dan January 31, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Yes BlackHawks Fan, you would think. But in reality there is enough Cook county in this district for the dems to control the vote. Let's not forget they got an absent JJJ elected with an overwhelming majority of the vote. As always, the machine selects the candidate.
Dan January 31, 2013 at 03:02 PM
The only shining light I see here to give us a glimmer of hope is, for once the property tax bills are out right before the election. If that is not a wake up call for voters (those who actually pay taxes), I don't know what is.
Brian James February 02, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Well, in the past I've voted for Mr. Reynolds and JJJ. It might be best for D2 if the candidate I vote for this time loses.
Juvenal February 02, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Stuart there is basically no difference on these candidate's conception of the role of the government and the limits on federal government power here. They would all answer "everything" and "none" respectively. But really broke-ass folks are going to be much more easily bought and sold than those who are not, and I have no idea how one can say that one's personal discipline in spending and responsibility in paying bills doesn't translate to their qualifications to be a legislator. I didn't need the details of Romney's or Trump's finances: they were both "Rich" There was a time when the wealthiest citizens of the Republic stepped away from lucrative careers to indulge public service, and their "FU" money at least insulated them from petty venality and the corruption that so often follows. Sadly, we now have nincompoops who want the job in part because it pays , what $180k? and an expense account and very loose regulation of campaign funds -- like Jr. paying his wife $5-$10k a month out of his campaign funds for consulting for a dozen years when he had no serious opposition.....
Stuart Kurtz February 02, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Juvenal, there is some reason to suspect that Romney took advantage of a 2009 IRS amnesty for people who had illegally sheltered overseas income. Trump may be rich, but he's come close to personal bankruptcy. Saying that they're rich seems like a poor excuse for a lack of due diligence. How they got that way, and what they've done to stay that way speaks to character. As for the thesis that poor people are more corruptible than rich people, this seems intuitively plausible, but it doesn't pass the real world test. I took the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's list of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress, and looked at their published net worth. It seems to have roughly the same distribution as the net worth of Congress as a whole: three with a net worth less than $100K, nine with net worth between $100K and $1M, five with net worth between $1M and $10M, one with net worth between $10M and $100M, and two with net worth over $100M. The median was $645K. There are surprisingly many members with negative net worth, yet none of these made the list.
Juvenal February 02, 2013 at 09:31 PM
It took about 30 seconds on Google to see that CREW is a left-leaning organization (First hint that an organization has a one-sided political agenda -- it takes pains to constantly describe itself as "non-partisan") which not surprisingly tends to find more Republicans and fewer democrats "corrupt" than do the actual criminal authorities of congressional ethics bodies. That's all well and good -- I'm sure there is a right wing analogue of that group -- but it likely skews the economic demographics of the list upon which you rely for your point.
Stuart Kurtz February 02, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Juvenal, I found any number of lists of "most corrupt." The CREW list was the one that came closest to having equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats (13-7, IIRC). I'd expect roughly equal numbers, because it doesn't seem to me that either party has an advantage when it comes to personal ethics. I looked at quite a few such lists, and this was the least obviously biased of the lot. If you think you have a better list, I'm willing to do the same analysis. As for "skew," it's not really evident in the data. Yes, the two richest people on the CREW list were Republicans, but so too were four of the five poorest. And the medians (the specific measure of center that I used) are not qualitatively different: $550K for the D's, $840K for the R's. There's a interesting plot of members of congress by net-worth and portfolio aggressiveness here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/capitol-assets/congressional-wealth-risk-matrix/ Both populations seem to have the same distribution, although this may be an artifact of the graphing process.
BUTCH February 02, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Any vote for a Dem in this time will be a continuation of being in the wilderness 20 years with no voice in congress. No State rep or minister or any Dem can deliver on anything, the TPARTY are not about to give a unknown nobody any more chance of getting a bill voted out of committee than JJJ did, MEL was given a dream assignment (ways-means) by his huckster backers the Bloom GOP Twp VP Manny Hoffman doing the dirty work for AIPAC, because he was a total fraud it was easy to set him up, the conspiracy used a 16 year old who looked 30 and it was the end of the 15 min of fame for the 2 dist, they then did plan 2 JJJ was elected the same way with waves of stalking horses candidates taking votes from the best candidate Alice Palmer. The GOP have succeeded in gerrymandering congress for at least 2020,if there were a a GOP congressman it would be a paradigm change and they would pull out all the stops, if the dist needs to remain Black as the gunman and ministers say fine vote for a BLACK GOP or stay in the wilderness till 2020 at least. iT has been 20 years since the majority of the dist had a congressman,JJJ, Mel and Gus a long time ago. Some of us had GOP JACK DAVIS and then G. Sangmeister and can remember what a congressman does none of the wannabe's except Debbie who was in Congress and Robin are remotely qualified but will be potted plants in the TPARTY majority do nothing Parliament of Whores time to think out of the box.
Anthony Williams February 15, 2013 at 08:25 AM
You will find that the only candidate who speaks up to protect the public interest IS Anthony W. Williams. Articles are disingenuous to citizens who take the words of others. These candidates count on misinformation. Over $100 million already spent on the so-called ALNAC and who made the money? None of us. When status quo and other candidates do make appearances it's not to advocate for you or I in times of trouble. Is it? Many want this seat but what have they stood up and taken a stand against for us including past and present OFFICIALS? Status quo candidates receive endorsements from big names then glamour us with what they know we want to hear to trick our votes. Once in office, no real service. Look at Hopkins Park, its current senator, Hutchinson, former, Halvorson. Over 40 years and nothing from either. Williams will not vote to raise taxes or cut programs but introduce a Federal Lottery,with tax free winning as incentive. Remaining balance placed toward the deficit/national debt. Once paid proceeds will be split as follows: 20% veterans, 20% college scholarships, 20% help us maintain our homes;10% Head-Start programs to get kids reading/reading ready;10% for struggling farmers and 20% surplus for Federal government. Take a closer look. www.VoteAnthonyWWilliams.com His body of work is documented and speaks for itself. Elect Anthony W. Williams to Congress and the People Win. Blessings, Mrs. Williams
Dinkum February 20, 2013 at 02:14 AM
Actually you can't count on much of what any candidate says before an election. And you need to check your facts. Half the grain harvested for the world DOES NOT come from Illinois (comment from your website). Innovative idea on how to tackle the deficit but flawed. Cut back the size of government first, cut back regulations, cut back spending, then reduce taxes over time.
LinaDina February 24, 2013 at 03:41 PM
With all the scandal going on about past and current candidates, you don’t have to worry about Anthony W. Williams being part of “that” group. You don't have to worry about him stealing campaign funds because he's the only candidate who isn't accepting $$ campaign donations. Instead has asked his donors to make in-kind donations. All of his campaign materials, radio promotions/commercials, ads, etc has been in-kind donations. For those who can't afford to pay for yard signs & don't have enough people to join with to get mailers, he asks that they donate 1-2 hrs of their time to spread the word. Williams also spent years coaching children's sports for both boys and girls & never once was there a complaint of improper behavior with any of the children. Stealing campaign funds, having inappropriate relations with children, I don't think Mr. Williams will be caught in any of those scandals. Also, Anthony Williams has been approached on more than one occasion (not just this campaign either) to drop out of the race and "they would make it worth his while", he said NO! Anthony W. Williams cannot be bought. Now what you can accuse him of is going bankrupt while helping others. He has given money from his savings to help others, not just family members, but members of the community who are in need of help. I encourage you to visit www.VoteAnthonyWWilliams.com and find out more about Mr. Williams' body of work and his agenda for the 2nd congressional district.
Pam February 24, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Also, several candidates have "DROPPED OUT" that are still being listed in this narrative; like candidate Toi Hutchinson; and O Patrick Brutis! Please Note: that the candidates are also not listed in alphabetical order, or in the order as seen on the ballot; which indacates that TEAM RAYBURN'S" candidate CHARLES RAYBURN'S message of FAIRNESS has not been well received by The PATCH. Listed next to last, even though MR. RAYBURN EARNED a higher spot on the ballot because________? Listed behind candidates that have DROPED OUT! Come on Chris, do you need a "TEACHABLE MOMENT with TEAM RAYBURN? The Chicago Hieghts Patch and my good friend Mr. Christopher Paicely have some splaining to do. (I LOVE LUCY / Ricky Recardo) DON'T BELIEVE DA HYPE!!!!!!!! DON'T BE LATE!!!!!!! PUNCH (108)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SEND CANDIDATE CHARLES RAYBURN TO THE RAYBURN HOUSE SO THAT HE CAN WALK ACCROSS THE STREET TO CONGRESS AND PROVIDE STRONG LEADERSHIP FOR YOU; YOUR FAMILIES; AND YOUR FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bad weather is expected on Tuesday, February 26, 2013, so Punch (108) before to go to work. (more to come)
Pam February 24, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Toi is OUT candidate CHARLES RAYBURN as promised is IN and STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (more to come)
Pam February 24, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Our candidate CHARLES RAYBURN would like to Thank All of his supporter who took his advice and EARLY VOTED for him. You voted early because we assured you that candidate CHARLES RAYBURN WOULD NOT DROP OUT, OR BE KNOCKED OUT OF THIS RACE. PROMISES MADE: PROMISES KEPT! The news is reporting that there will be BAD WEATHER on Tuesday, February 26, 2013, election day. TEAM RAYBURN was the first to emphasize the importance of early voting and is proud to announce that All; 100% of our voters have called and confirmed that they have ALREADY VOTED for CHARLES RAYBURN to be the DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE to fill the seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr.. (more to come) Again TEAM RAYBURN would like to thank each and everyone of you for voting for CHANGE.
Pam February 24, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Joe, with all due respect, the time to debate was over with on February 11th, 2013, when early voting started. If you haven't already done so, and are willing to; the time now, is to vote for candadite CHARLES RAYBURN as 100% of his core supporters have already done. We are still accepting undecided converts. (more to come)
Christopher Paicely (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Hello Pam, I've updated the list to reflect the dropouts. Thanks for bringing that too my attention. Also, I must admit I would be surprised if the order of the list in this article ended up deciding the election. I think you may be giving Chicago Heights Patch too much credit. I also think you should re-examine how Patch has treated Mr. Rayburn before questioning its fairness. I don't know how many offers he has received to do one-on-one video interviews about the issues, but I thought it was fair to extend him that invitation. Thanks for offering the teachable moment though. I never realized what I was missing in life until I saw your comment. Now I know: A teachable moment.
Bob Levy February 25, 2013 at 03:39 PM
My disappointment with the Patch on "Get to Know the 2nd District Congressional Candidates " is that 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans have no information. Are only the people that have a lot of money and press coverage covered? I would love to see a chart that shows the major issues across the top row and the names in column 1 and each block filled in with the candidates position. That way I could make an intelligent decision. (similar to the challenge of voting for a judge)
Christopher Paicely (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Hi Bob, Unfortunately, only the candidates that agree to be interviewed can be interviewed. I sent out notifications to every candidate I could get contact information for. Not all of them responded. As far as the chart, I agree with you. That is a very good idea. This series asked the candidates what issues they cared most about. I hope knowing what they put at the top of their priorities has helped in your decision as well.


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