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updated: 2/18/2013 7:45 AM

Hutchinson exits race for Jackson's seat

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Associated Press

Illinois state Sen. Toi Hutchinson has dropped out of the race for the U.S. House seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr.

In a written statement, Hutchinson says she is throwing her support behind fellow Democrat Robin Kelly, a former state representative.

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Hutchinson said Sunday that she did not want her candidacy to risk dividing the community at a time when it needs unity on issues such as gun violence.

Hutchinson had opposed tougher restrictions on guns. But she says the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn., persuaded her to moderate her views.

The 2nd congressional district includes parts of Chicago's South Side, which has been especially affected by gun violence. Jackson resigned in November and faces a federal conspiracy charge.

The Democratic primary will be held Feb. 26.

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