Davis throws support behind Moseley Braun

January 1, 2011 4:38:24 PM PST
Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun is now the only prominent African-American candidate in the race for Chicago mayor.

On Friday night, Danny Davis dropped out. On Saturday, there was a show of unity in front of the crowd at the weekly Rainbow Push forum.

And it is that united front that Davis and others say will ensure greater success in the race for mayor. The decision to make Moseley Braun the African-American consensus candidate came Wednesday after the candidates and their supporters held a four-hour meeting brokered by the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Although immediately afterward, neither candidate agreed to exit the race.

The fast approaching Election Day changed that.

"Ain't no stopping us now, 'cause we are on the move," Davis said.

Davis began this new political year as he ended 2010, by again throwing his support behind his once-mayoral rival Moseley Braun.

"In unity there is strength. unity that will get us the kind of community that works for everybody," Moseley Braun said.

Braun and Davis have met privately in recent days amid urgings from African-American community leaders for the two Democrats to agree on a so-called consensus candidate to unify the black vote. The pressure increased after State Senator James Meeks ended his campaign last week.

"Many people said we would never come together. People said that our egos were too big. But we proved everybody wrong. Chicago is hurting," Meeks said.

More than one-third of the city's 3 million people are African American.

Jackson, who took part in the consensus meetings, says Moseley Braun has the financial resources to better compete against former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, former school board president Gery Chico and others in the campaign to replace retiring Mayor Richard Daley.

"She has a broader field base, and in the end, she can present their values and protest their interest," said Jackson.

Davis didn't elaborate on why he dropped out, simply calling Moseley Braun, who also served as an assistant U.S. attorney, lawmaker and ambassador to New Zealand, the best person for Chicago.

"I want every person who thought they wanted to support me or thought they did or dreamt it, to support Carol Moseley Braun for mayor of Chicago," Davis said.

Some political experts say the Davis departure could affect other mayoral candidates, like Chico, the most.

"So, now I think he's going to be looking around his major competition, Miguel Del Valle, and there'll be some discussions in the Latino community about consolidating that support behind one candidate," said Laura Washington, political analyst.

A recent poll this month had Davis as the leading black candidate, as well as a slim lead over Rahm Emanuel among black voters. Davis made headlines earlier this week when he warned former president Bill Clinton against taking sides in the mayor's race by campaigning for Emanuel instead of one of the black candidates, saying that could jeopardize his relationship with the black community.