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Top Democratic Recruit To Run For Weller Seat

In a big recruiting coup for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Illinois Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson (D) has decided to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.).

“She sees this as a historic time in Washington, and she wants to be a part of it,” said one Democratic operative familiar with her decision. “She wants to bring the things she accomplished in Illinois to Washington.”

Halvorson met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last weekend as she made the rounds with Democratic officials in Washington. She also met with EMILY’s List, which funds and supports Democratic candidates who support abortion rights.

Many operatives had speculated that she wanted to move up in the state legislative leadership, but persistent wooing by top Democrats helped convince her otherwise.

Democrats and Republicans alike view the newly open seat as the most competitive in a state with its share of highly touted races. The largely suburban-exburban district south of Chicago gave President Bush 53 percent of the vote in 2004, and fast-growing Will County, including Joliet, is trending away from the Republicans.