Donne Trotter, the Illinois state senator who was arrested on December 5 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for allegedly trying to bring a gun on a plane, today dropped out of the campaign to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress.
The Chicago Democrat, who is known as a big gun control advocate, was arrested when TSA agents discovered an unloaded.25 caliber Beretta pistol and a clip loaded with live rounds tucked inside his carry-on bag. If convicted of the Class 4 felony, Trotter could face up to three years in prison.
According to ABC News, Trotter made the following statement about exiting the House campaign:
“Today I formally announce my intention to end my candidacy for that position. The people of the second Congressional district have critical needs that must be met.”
Trotter was once considered a front-runner for the vacant US House seat formerly held by Jesse Jackson, Jr. who resigned from Congress in November, but the gun charge apparently made his continued candidacy not viable.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Trotter — who will continue in his role as a state senator — claimed, however, that the weapons arrest was irrelevant to the decision to exit the campaign:
“[Trotter] refused to comment on his gun arrest but said it did not factor into his decision to not vie for Jackson’s seat. Neither did the media scrutiny, he said.
” ‘None whatsoever,’ Trotter said. ‘These are two separate issues. My legal issue is a legal issue and this campaign…is a totally separate issue.’ “
There about 16 other Democrat candidates vying for the House seat, and a primary is scheduled for February 26. A win in the primary is almost a guaranteed ticket to Washington in the heavily Democrat district.
There are still unanswered questions revolving around how Trotter qualified for concealed carry permit and whether his part-time security guard job, which was undisclosed on his campaign finance records, was on the level.