Congressman Bobby Rush will not seek re-election: sources

Huge news from a giant in Illinois politics — Congressman Bobby Rush is retiring. 

Born in Georgia in the 1940s, Rush moved with his family to Chicago as part of the great migration for African-Americans from the south.

He is the only candidate to ever defeat then Sen. Barack Obama in 2000.

He was first elected in 1992, and has held the First Congressional seat in Illinois for 30 years.

The 75-year-old says he's ready to focus his energy elsewhere.

"Every 18 months you are running for re-election, that's very tiring, and it takes a toll on you mentally and physically," said publicist Sean Howard.

Howard is a publicist, who represents political figures. He has known Rush for 35 years.


Rush's legacy is rooted in politics and activism.

As a civil right's activist in the 60s, Rush co-founded the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and was best friends with the leader, Fred Hampton.

He helped the lives of many Black people in Chicago and beyond.

Even activist Jahmal Cole, who put his hat in the ring for Rush's seat, sung his praises.

"I can't imagine all the things he had to endure throughout all of his 30 years in his political career, then as an activist," Cole said. I would not be able to do the things that I am doing if it wasn't for the legacy of Congressman Rush. So salute to him for paving the way for me."

Rush is holding a press conference on Tuesday at 11 a.m. to discuss his plans for the future. The news conference will be held at the same church where Emmett Till's funeral was held in 1955.