Barack Obama Elected Illinois Senate In 1997, Barack Obama won three Illinois Senate elections. The Illinois Senate career of Barack Obama began in 1997 after his first election in 1996 to a two-year term in the Illinois Senate representing Illinois’ 13th Legislative District in Chicago. He was re-elected in 1998 to a four-year term and re-elected again in 2002 to another four-year term. He resigned from the Illinois Senate in 2004 following his election to the U.S. Senate. He resigned from the U.S. Senate following his election in 2008 to become the 44th President of the United States in 2009.
In August 1994, Republican Cook County State’s Attorney Jack O’Malley announced the indictment of first-term U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds (D-2) of South Shore and newspapers reported that while Reynolds was unopposed on the general election ballot and would be re-elected in November 1994, state Sen. Alice Palmer (D-13) of South Shore would be the front runner for Reynolds’ seat in 1996-or earlier if he was convicted and a special election was held.
In October 1994, 29-year-old Jesse Jackson, Jr. of South Shore was reported to have moved a few blocks into the 2nd Congressional District and to be considering running for Reynolds’ seat in 1996.
On November 21, 1994, Alice Palmer announced she was launching a campaign committee to raise funds to run for Reynolds’ congressional seat in 1996, and suggested that Jesse Jackson, Jr. run for her state Senate seat in 1996 instead of running against her for Congress.
On June 27, 1995, Palmer announced she was running for Congress and would be giving up her state Senate seat instead of running for re-election in 1996. The following week newspapers reported that Palmer-supporter Barack Obama of Hyde Park-who had been announced as chairman of the $49.2 million Chicago Annenberg Challenge on June 22 and whose memoir Dreams from My Father would be published on July 18-would announce he was running and would be a front-runner for Palmer’s state Senate seat; Obama began fundraising in July, created a campaign committee on August 7 and filed its statement of organization on September 5. Before entering the race, Obama spoke to about 30 elected officials in the district.