Democrats from Cook, Will, and Kankakee counties in Illinois failed to agree on an endorsement for a candidate to succeed the retired Jesse Jackson, Jr. on Sunday.
The reason was the number of candidates who are running. At least 10 prominent pols from the area are seeking the seat and no one candidate was able to achieve a majority with the leadership.
Veteran political observers had said ahead of the meeting that no one had locked up the endorsement, which if delivered could have made a candidate a front-runner, but not guaranteed victor, in the crowded primary fight to replace Jackson.
It remains unclear how many Democrats will run in the primary to replace Jackson. Filing for the race will be open in early January.
The expected candidates include former U.S. Representative Debbie Halvorson, who lost to Jackson in the Democratic primary this year, and Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale.
Jesse Jackson Jr.'s wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, has said she would not seek to succeed him.
"Congressional seats in the Chicago area don't come open that often," said Chris Mooney, a political scientist at the University of Illinois, Springfield.
"People get in and they stay in. So when one comes up, there are a lot of people who want to get in there," Mooney said.
The last Chicago-area congressional vacancy was in 2009, when Rahm Emanuel left the House to become President Barack Obama's chief of staff.
Critics of the slating process said it tends to anoint candidates based on their political clout more than their merit.
Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman and now head of the political science department at the University of Illinois, Chicago, called the field of candidates "a pretty reasonable crop in terms of position and background."
The 2nd is the most Democratic district in the country. President Obama received over 80% of the vote in the presidential election so the winner of the primary is guaranteed a win in the April general election.