Davis confident he can appeal to all voters

November 8, 2010 (CHICAGO)

After two months of closed-door meetings, a coalition of African-American ministers and elected officials chose Davis as its candidate for mayor. With two other African-Americans in the race, some fear the black vote will now split.

Davis is confident he has broad appeal considering he just got re-elected to Congress by a huge margin in a district that is very diverse.

Playing catch-up, Davis hosted a petition drive Sunday night on the South Side. Despite being the third African-American in the race, he is confident he can appeal to all voters.

"I'm talking about over winning a majority of the citizens and the voters in the City of Chicago," said Davis.

The coalition behind Davis is made up of elected officials and ministers, but another African-American coalition backs former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun and Rev. James Meeks.

"There obviously is not a consensus candidate, there are consistent candidates," said Hermene Hartman, publisher of weekly newspaper N'Digo.

Hartman is a member of what she calls a quite but very powerful group called the Business Leadership Council. Its chairs include Frank Clark, the head of ComEd, and Jonathon Rogers Jr., the founder of Ariel Capital Management. She says financial support from black businesses is key to a successful candidate.

"Long before the Pritzkers, Hollywood and national presence, it was black business people who backed Barack and put up intial dollars and said, run for Senate, and then later, run for president," said Hartman.

But if there are three African-American candidates still in the race in February, ABC 7's political contributor Laura Washington says none will get into the runoff because the vote will split.

"There is a limited number of black votes out there that they can can win, and unless they can reach out very broadly beyond the African-American community, they are going to lose to a white candidate or Latino candidate," said Washington.

The only white candidate left in the race is Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former chief of staff, who commented Monday for the first time on Davis entering the race.

"I served in Congress with Danny DavisOur districts abutted...all the candidates have a lot to offer. They'll offer their ideas. I am offering my ideas today," said Emanuel.

Emanuel spoke to the media Monday touring a West Side seating company. Before making the decision to come back to Chicago and run for mayor, he met with several Chicago congressman, including Davis. Emanuel denied ever making a deal with Davis not to run. He says their meeting was about their love for Chicago.

So far, there are two Latino candidates - Gery Chico and Miguel Del Valle - who are gathering signatures.

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