Leading contender drops bid for Jackson Jr.'s House seat

Donne Trotter, the Illinois state senator and a leading contender vying for former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s (D-Ill.) vacant House seat, announced Saturday that he will no longer run for the office.

Trotter's decision not to seek the House seat comes on the heels of a weapons arrest earlier this month and public pressure on the handling of state grant.

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Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Trotter said he was bowing out of the race because the second congressional district "need and deserve answers," according to the Chicago Sun Times. While Trotter would not speak about the gun arrest, he said it had no effect on his decision to not seek the House seat.

"None whatsoever," Trotter said. "These are two separate issues. My legal issue is a legal issue and this campaign...is a totally separate issue."

Earlier this month, Trotter was charged with one count of trying to board an airplane with a weapon.

The gun was found by TSA agents in Trotter's carry-on bag at around 7 a.m. on Dec. 5 while the state senator was going through security at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Trotter said he forgot that he left the gun in his carry-on bag.

He was considered by many to be one of the stronger contenders for the seat, but he faced a wide Democratic primary slate of at least six other local Democrats vying for the seat.

Trotter's exit still leaves former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly, former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris, Alderman Anthony Beale and former Rep. Mel Reynolds in the running.