Primary looming, Jackson faces ethical cloud

By DEANNA BELLANDI and HENRY C. JACKSON | November 21, 2011 | 2:20 PM EST

CHICAGO (AP) — Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is facing serious competition for the first time since his House career began, damaged by the last three years of allegations of corruption and embarrassing personal disclosures and made even more vulnerable by Illinois's new congressional district map.

Jackson came to Congress 16 years ago already with designs on higher office. But with a House Ethics Committee inquiry hanging over him, Jackson Jr. is now being challenged by former congresswoman and state senate leader Debbie Halvorson, a fellow Democrat who has tried to draw attention to his "ethical distractions."

Jackson Jr.'s chief of staff says the congressman expects to be vindicated by the committee.