Democrats in Chicago will hold an open primary to select their candidate in the special election for former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s (D-Ill.) seat.

Chicago’s WGN-TV reported Saturday that party leaders from Illinois’s 2nd congressional district were unable to unify behind one of the 16 candidates running for the seat.

After hearing presentations from the contenders and deliberating for 90 minutes, committeemen voted for an open primary, during a meeting on Saturday.

Jackson’s seat was vacated when the nine-term congressman resigned in late November.  In a letter, Jackson cited his ongoing treatment for severe bipolar disorder.  He is also reportedly the target of a federal investigation into alleged misuse of campaign funds. 

The race for Jackson’s seat is expected to be competitive, with former Democratic Reps. Mel Reynolds and Debbie Halvorson entering the race. 

Other candidates include state Sens. Toi Hutchinson, Napoleon Harris and Donne Trotter and Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale. 

Jackson Jr.’s wife, Sandi Jackson, an alderman in Chicago, said last week that she would not seek her husband’s former seat. 

The special election primary is set for Feb. 26, with the general election on April 9.