The newly-announced plan to consolidate the city's African-American vote could dramatically change the race for Chicago mayor. ABC7 got word of it during a forum for black mayoral candidates broadcast Wednesday on a South Side radio station.
WVON host Cliff Kelly held a month-old Chicago Defender front page that put the situation in perspective. Illinois state Sen. James Meeks, former U.S. Sen. and former ambassador Carol Mosely Braun and Congressman Danny Davis could split Chicago's black vote. And it's projected to be 40-45-percent of all the ballots cast.
"A mayor has to be a mayor for all of Chicago. Harold Washington was very clear about that," said Mosely Braun.
Braun, Meeks and Davis were asked by telephone for reasons why they think Chicago needs a black mayor.
"The city of chicago is in need of balanced leadership. That is, somebody who will bring the city as close together as it can possibly come," said Rep. Davis.
"We were dismal as it relates to African-Americans receiving city contracts. We were 8-percent last year, with 7-percent this year," said Meeks.
But a Chicago Tribune poll reports that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has a wide lead in the black plurality city. Emanuel has 32-percent to Davis and Gery Chico who are tied at 9-percent, Meeks at 7-percent, Braun at 6-percent and Miguel del Valle at 3-percent. If no candidate gets 50-percent plus one on February 22, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff.
"There'll be a great possibility that there might not be an African-American candidate, only the top two," Kelly said.
On the air, Senator Meeks suggested that by December 21, the leading African-American candidates should decide among themselves who has the best chance to win.
"A serious discussion about who's raised money, a serious discussion about who's in front," said Meeks.
"We would automatically come together. I certainly don't have problem with that at all," said Davis.
" I'm in it to win it. I'm in it to the end, " said Mosely Braun.
The Tribune survey also found 30-percent of the city's voters undecided on the race for mayor.