CHICAGO — An Illinois state lawmaker who was a frontrunner to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says he's ending his candidacy because he doesn't want the felony gun charges he faces to detract from the district's important issues.

Donne Trotter was arrested Dec. 5 when security screeners at O'Hare International Airport found an unloaded .25-caliber Beretta handgun in his bag.

He told officers he has the gun for a job he works with a security firm and forgot it was in his bag before he went to the airport.

Trotter announced Saturday he will not seek the 2nd congressional district seat, explaining that solving the area's economic and other problems was too important to allow his legal "situation to detract from what needs to be front and center."

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • IN: Robin Kelly

    In this photo taken Aug. 18, 2010, Robin Kelly, former Illinois state representative and current Cook County Chief Administrative officer, is seen during Democrats Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. On Dec. 2, <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/16767105-418/robin-kelly-joins-quest-for-jacksons-seat-quinn-sets-april-9-vote-date.html" target="_hplink">Kelly announced her run for Jackson's seat</a> from a restaurant in suburban Matteson, Ill.

  • OUT: Toi Hutchinson

    In this Dec. 13, 2011 file photo Illinois Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, speaks on the Senate floor in Springfield. <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Sen-Toi-Hutchinson-Wants-Jacksons-Seat-180513971.html"> Hutchinson dropped out of the race in February 2013.

  • OUT: Napoleon Harris

    The State Senator-elected and former NFL player -- who also owns two pizza chains -- was formerly <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/22/jesse-jackson-jr-resigned_n_2175593.html">among the special election candidates</a>. He <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/16642530-418/ex-nu-star-in-the-game.html">formally announced his run</a> on Nov. 27. Harris <a href="http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/illinois/chicago/harris-drops-out-of-nd-congressional-district-race/article_a8c5fab0-793a-5ffe-873c-52cdca6a0eda.html" target="_hplink">announced he was dropping out of the race</a> in late January. <em>Pictured:</em> Harris poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Getty Images)

  • IN: Lenny McAllister

    Conservative pundit Lenny McAllister told DNAinfo.com Chicago that <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121204/chicago/lenny-mcallister-enters-race-replace-jackson-as-only-republican">he is running for Jackson's congressional seat</a>. As of Dec. 5, he will be running unopposed in the Republican primary.

  • IN: Debbie Halvorson

    Debbie Halvorson speaks to supporter as she gives her concession speech March 20 in Homewood, Ill. Halvorson, a former congresswoman who unsuccessfully challenged Jackson in the democratic primary, confirmed on Nov. 25 that <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/16626643-418/former-rep-debbie-halvorson-running-to-replace-jesse-jackson-jr.html">she will give the seat another go</a>.

  • IN: Mel Reynolds

    FILE - In this Jan. 9, 1995 file photo, U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds responds to question in Chicago. Reynolds has scheduled a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, in Chicago to announce that he is running to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress. The Harvard-educated Democrat later also went to prison after being convicted of fraud for concealing debts to obtain bank loans and diverting money intended for voter registration drives into his election campaign. Jackson was first elected to Congress in 1995 in a special election to replace Reynolds. Reynolds said on Nov. 28 <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Mel-Reynolds-Jumping-Into-2nd-District-Race-181180581.html">his new campaign is "far from a joke</a>." (AP Photo/Fred Jewell, File)

  • IN: Anthony Beale

    Chicago <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/16701390-505/ald-anthony-beale-joins-race-for-2nd-congressional-district.html#" target="_hplink">Alderman Anthony Beale jumped into the race on Nov. 29</a> to replace his former political mentor, Jesse Jackson Jr. "I'm the only candidate in this race [who] has created thousands of jobs. ... One project alone has created 3,000 to 4,000 jobs. That's the kind of leadership we need," he said in the Sun-Times.

  • OUT: Anne Marie Miles

    Attorney and community activist Anee Marie Miles announced in a press release on Dec. 3 she would consider running for the 2nd Congressional District seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr. However, Miles had not filed by the Feb. 7 deadline. Miles ran unsuccessful bids against fifth ward Alderman Leslie Hairston,<a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/All-The-Hot-Committeemans-Races-139710383.html" target="_hplink"> first in 2011 to unseat the alderman</a>, and again in 2012 in a race for the ward's role of Democratic Committeeman.

  • OUT: Donne Trotter

    Illinois Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, listens to testimony during a Senate Executive committee hearing at the Illinois State Capitol Wednesday, May 30, 2012 in Springfield Ill. Trotter <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121126/BLOGS02/121129901/whos-in-whos-out-in-race-for-jesse-jackson-jr-s-seat-in-congress">told Crain's he is "in the race</a>" in November and his campaign continued <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/politics&id=8917342" target="_hplink">despite his arrest on a federal weapons charge</a>. Nevertheless, in late December, Trotter was <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8934735" target="_hplink">ready to drop out of the race</a>. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

  • OUT: David Miller

    Former Illinois Rep. David. Miller argues mass transit funding legislation while on the House floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008. Miller's name <a href="http://chicagoheights.patch.com/articles/2nd-congressional-district-special-election-could-cost-millions-of-dollars#youtube_video-12294335">has been floated in multiple media reports</a> on the upcoming special election. As of the Feb. 7 filing deadline, Miller had not officially entered the race.

  • OUT: Sam Adam Jr.

    Sam Adam Jr., one of the former attorneys for ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, listens to testimony to the Illinois house impeachment committee January 8, 2009 in Springfield, Illinois. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/sam-adam-jr-congressional_n_2129165.html">Adam is considering a congressional run</a>. As of the Feb. 7 filing deadline, however, Adams was nowhere to be seen on the ballot.

  • OUT: Sandi Jackson

    In this Feb. 16, 2011 file photo, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, wife of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., is seen in her Chicago office. Jackson <a href="http://atlantablackstar.com/2012/11/23/sandi-jackson-wife-of-rep-jesse-jackson-jr-seen-as-possible-replacement-for-him/">had previously discussed her congressional aspirations</a> and <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121210/chicago/will-ald-sandi-jackson-run-for-disgraced-husbands-seat-never-say-never" target="_hplink">told DNAinfo Chicago to "never say never</a>" to her taking a stab at the seat for a story published on Dec. 10. Later that day, however, she decided to say never: she proclaimed to the Associated Press that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/12/jesse-jackson-jr-house-race-wife-sandi-jackson_n_2283810.html" target="_hplink">she is not running for Congress</a>.

  • OUT: Will Burns

    Chicago Alderman Will Burns walks in the Bud Billiken Parade. <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/11/21/race-to-replace-jackson-could-be-wild-wild-west/">Burns was reportedly interested</a> in succeeding Jackson in Congress. "We'll see," he told CBS Chicago. However, Burns <a href="http://hpherald.com/2012/11/30/will-burns-will-not-seek-2nd-district-seat/" target="_hplink">tweeted on Nov. 30</a> he would not seek Jesse Jackson Jr's seat.

  • OUT: Jonathan Jackson

    Rev. Jesse Jackson, left, gets hugs from sons Jonathan, center, and Yusef following his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 15, 2000, in Los Angeles. Jonathan Jackson is <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/trouble-not-over-jesse-jackson-jr">rumored to be considering a run in the special election</a>, according to the Associated Press. In late November, NBC Chicago handicapped the race, <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Handicapping-the-2nd-District-Special-Election-181403141.html" target="_hplink">speculating the odds of Jonathan Jackson running to be 12-1. </a> However, in a Dec. 18 report on Fox Chicago, <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/20378167/jesse-jackson-jr-brother-not-running-congress">Jackson said he will not be running</a> in the race.

  • OUT: Toni Preckwinkle

    Though Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has consistently denied rumors that she is interested in running for other offices -- most recently, for Illinois governor -- <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2012/1124/Could-a-tea-partyer-replace-Rep.-Jesse-Jackson-Jr.">her name was also being floated as a possible Jackson successor</a>. On Dec. 4, Preckwinkle <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/cook-county-board-president-toni-preckwinkle-illinois-second-congressional--182060081.html">called such rumors "complete and total nonsense</a>."

  • OUT: Todd Stroger

    In this June 28, 2006 file photo, Todd Stroger answers a question at a news conference after a Chicago City Council meeting. <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/16542699-418/todd-stroger-weighs-bid-to-replace-jackson.html">Stroger was interested in Congress</a>, the Sun-Times reported. <strong>UPDATE:</strong> DNAinfo Chicago reports Stroger <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121126/chicago/state-looks-into-500000-that-disappeared-from-todd-stroger-campaign-fund">is no longer considering a congressional run</a>.


***