State Sen. Napoleon Harris of Flossmoor, sworn into his first elective office this month, is expected to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional District and will back former state Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson, a source familiar with the decision said.
The source asked not to be identified so as to not pre-empt an afternoon news conference where Harris, a former National Football League player and current pizza business owner, was to make the announcement with Kelly.
Harris' departure would mark the first major candidate among 17 who filed for the Democratic nomination to drop out of the race.
In November, Harris won his first elective office, and some had questioned why he had decided to enter the special Feb. 26 Democratic primary contest to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress even before he had even been inaugurated in Springfield.
Harris, who played in a Super Bowl as a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders and also played for the Minnesota Vikings, was noted for being the only major Democratic contender who did not support gay rights. A standout at Northwestern University, Harris’ football wealth had been expected to be a major factor in the crowded contest.
Kelly was formerly the chief administrative officer for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Preckwinkle earlier this week endorsed state Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields for the nomination over Kelly.
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