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In Illinois, Robin Kelly easily wins congressional seat vacated by Jackson Jr.

Robin Kelly will head to Washington, D.C. this week to become the next congresswoman from Illinois.

With 76 percent of precincts reporting as of 8:30 p.m., Kelly, a Democrat, had earned 74 percent of the vote, trumping ballots cast for her closest challenger, Republican Paul McKinley.

The 56-year-old congresswoman-elect, who replaces convicted former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., said she'll head to Congress with a priority list.

"Legislatively, gun safety and gun control, of course. Immigration reform. I'm stepping into all of it, it seems, like at the right time," she said earlier in the day.

Kelly will have big shoes to fill: Jackson was a 17-year incumbent who served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and brought home nearly $1 billion to the district. He also had strong relationships with mayors, activists and voters across the district that includes city neighborhoods, suburbs and some rural areas.

Jackson resigned in November. He pleaded guilty in February in federal court to lavishly misspending $750,000 in campaign funds.

Kelly received big name endorsements including from President Barack Obama and received a huge boost from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's super PAC, which supported her gun control stance. Also, the district is solidly Democratic and has been for about six decades. McKinley is an ex-con-turned-community activist who barely won his primary.

Early estimates showed low voter turnout in parts of the district, especially the city. Tuesday's special election coincided with municipal contests in other parts of the state; Chicago held its municipal contests in 2011.

Only 8 percent of city voters showed up at the polls, according to early estimates, with an expected turnout of roughly 12 percent by day's end. In the suburbs, the number was higher.

Independents Elizabeth Pahlke, Marcus Lewis and Curtis Bay, as well as Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones, were also on Tuesday's ballot.

With the Associated Press