US Rep Jackson faces first Democratic challenge

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CHICAGO (AP) — A former congresswoman and one-time Mary Kay saleswoman is giving Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. the first Democratic challenge of his career.

Debbie Halvorson, who is white, is taking on the son of the iconic civil rights leader in a district that has been held by a black congressman for three decades.

Halvorson believes Jackson is vulnerable because of recent ethics scandals and a new political map that adds more rural areas and white voters to Jackson’s district on Chicago’s South Side.

Halvorson has hired an African American community relations consultant, scored endorsements from ministers and is visiting up to five black churches every Sunday.

The primary is shaping up as one of the most heated contests in the March 20 primary.