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Sources: Toi Hutchinson dropping out of 2nd district race, to back Kelly

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Sources say that State Sen. Toi Hutchinson has told her staff she is dropping out of the 2nd Congressional District race.

A source close to the situation said Hutchinson will put her support behind Robin Kelly, a former state Rep. and onetime friend to Hutchinson.

It's a stunning turn of events in a competitive race that has seen former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Hutchinson and Kelly in the lead for weeks.

One source said to expect a news release in the morning announcing Hutchinson putting her support behind Kelly.

The news isn't entirely surprising, given the rumors swirling the last couple of days about Hutchinson.

Her campaign staff had gone dark for the last several days, not returning calls that questioned why Hutchinson had not reported fund-raising for the month.

Hutchinson battled a huge money drop from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's SuperPAC. Bloomberg's political action committee, which targets pro-gun candidates, has already spent $1.4 million pummeling Halvorson on the airwaves. She also faced questions over having once had her mother on her state senate campaign payroll, working as her scheduler. Hutchinson did not keep her mother on her payroll once she ran for congressional office.

While the commercials hit Halvorson over her A rating with the NRA, the TV spots benefited Kelly, who has continued to gain momentum in the race. Kelly has used her long opposition to guns to her advantage in the race. Bloomberg then came out in favor of Kelly.

Insiders say the move could be a boost to both Kelly and Halvorson. Halvorson has been battling Hutchinson's hold on parts of Will and Kankakee counties. But Kelly and Hutchinson were also fighting over some of the same backing.

Some of Hutchinson staff members were incensed over the news, saying they were taken by surprise.
"They're outraged over this. They were working their butts off for her."

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