Cheryle Jackson now running as Cheryle Robinson Jackson for US Senate seat in 2010
When Cheryle Jackson formally launched her campaign for the U.S. Senate last week, she kicked it off with a major name change.
Cheryle Jackson is now Cheryle Robinson Jackson.
Family considerations were behind the switch, she tells me. She denies it is a campaign strategy. Still, the move triggered a flurry of theories.
Jackson rose to prominence in 2003 when she signed on as then- Gov. Rod Blagojevich's spokeswoman. Three years later, she was appointed president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. She started writing a column in the Chicago Defender, landed a TV show on the local Fox affiliate, and has attracted tons of free media. She apparently had made enough of a name for herself that she decided to take a shot at President Obama's old Senate seat.
Late last month, her fledgling campaign issued a press release announcing some political endorsements. The release also unveiled the "new" name by resurrecting her maiden name.
When first asked about the change, her spokesman, Bob Kettlewell, reportedly said, "There was no reason why."
When former Rod Blagojevich spokesperson Cheryle Jackson left that job to become the first woman to lead the Chicago Urban League in its history in 2006, it was the kind of moment that would make a mother proud.
But it was only when Jackson announced her entry into the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat currently being held hostage by Roland Burris that she used her mother's pride as an excuse to rename herself Cheryle Robinson Jackson.
As Laura Washington points out, this accomplishes two things.
First, it links Jackson to the now-famous Michelle Robinson and her extended network of friends and family. That would be Michelle Robinson Obama. And if voters think she's related, so be it.
Second, it puts some distance between her and the Jackson Jacksons - those of the Jesse Jackson variety. Running statewide makes one think twice about that kind of association.