WASHINGTON--Cheryle Jackson, the president of the Chicago Urban League, is moving closer to a run for the U.S. Senate, opening an exploratory committee this week.
Jackson told me she will decide in the coming months if she will officially get in the Illinois Democratic Senate primary and that she is pulling together a fund-raising and campaign team. Jackson told me Thursday her decision will not hinge on whether or not Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan gets in the contest.
"It is not about who else is in the race," Jackson said. Her main issues will pivot around economic development, she said.
One matter Jackson may have to grapple with is her previous job as spokesman for ousted Gov. Blagojevich, now facing federal criminal corruption charges. She worked for him between January, 2003 and August, 2006, when she resigned.
When she realized the Blagojevich administration "was not what I signed up for, I left," Jackson told me.
Embattled Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) will likely--even if it is not official--decide not to run because his latest fund-raising totals, to be released by mid-July, are expected to be anemic. Last quarter he raised just over $800.
Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is already running for the Senate; Merchandise Mart mogul Chris Kennedy, a son of the late New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is also organizing a campaign.