Davis, Braun staying in mayoral race

December 27, 2010 4:42:34 AM PST
Rev. James Meeks returned to the pulpit of his church Sunday for the first time since dropping out of the race for mayor.

Meeks, who dropped from the mayoral race last week, told his congregation that either Carol Moseley Braun or Danny Davis should be next.

So far, neither Braun nor Davis has dropped out.

Meeks ended his campaign, he says, in the interest of unity. He wants a consensus candidate, and warned that if all the African American candidates stay in the race, the black vote will be divided and the community will suffer.

During his sermon Sunday, State Senator Meeks challenged the other African American candidates to rally the black community behind a single candidate.

"The last thing we need as African Americans is a bitter mayoral race where three African Americans split the African American vote," said Meeks Sunday at his South Side mega-church.

Meeks dropped out of the race last week one day meeting with fellow Democratic African American mayoral candidates Congressman Danny Davis and former U.S. senator Carol Moseley Braun.

Both have said they will not drop out of the race.

"This is not about one side of town against another side of town," said Braun. "The consensus candidate is going to come out of this process, and that will be the candidate the whole city wants."

Sunday evening, while accepting a political endorsement from the Indo-American Democratic organization, Davis said he is the consensus candidate and vowed to stay in the race.

"We're dropping in all over town, and so we're dropping in with the understanding that we are picking up support and gathering steam and momentum," said Davis.

In November, a coalition of African American clergy members and community leaders selected Davis as their preferred candidate.

There is still a crowded field for the election on February 22nd, including former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who an election board cleared to stay on the ballot last week following a challenge to his residency.

The decision to let Emanuel appear on the ballot could be one of the factors prompting Meeks's call for a single African-American candidate.

"No African American makes the runoff: that would be the worst thing that we could possibly do for our city," said Meeks.

William "Doc" Walls is another African American candidate in the race for mayor.

Meeks' campaign had struggled in recent weeks after he said that Asians, Hispanics and women should not be considered minorities in the same fashion as African Americans with respect to city contracts.

In a recent Chicago Tribune poll, Meeks received the support of 7 percent of total respondents, while Davis earned 9 percent, and Braun scored 6 percent.


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