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Meeks To Give Up Running Church For Mayoral Race

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Illinois State Senator, Rev. James Meeks (D-Chicago)

Illinois State Senator, Rev. James Meeks (D-Chicago) in Denver for the Democratic National Convention in 2008. (CBS)

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UPDATED 11/1/10 11:17 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) - State Sen. Rev. James Meeks has announced he will temporarily give up the day-to-day operations of his Salem Baptist Church as he prepares his run for mayor.

Meeks also said he would hand over day-to-day activities at the church, at 752 E. 114th St., to Executive Pastor Rev. Dearal L. Jordan.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Craig Dellimore Reports


When it comes to preachers, Meeks is among the most powerful. His South Side church, started with 200 members back in the 1980s, is now 20,000 strong.

A representative for Meeks said he might continue to preach occasionally, even while campaigning.

Meeks said last month that he would be committed to running the city if elected.

“I don’t run the church on a daily basis now, so I would be committed to being mayor of Chicago 24 hours, seven days a week,” Meeks said. “And guess what I would do on Sundays? Go to church like everybody else.”

Meeks said his last month that his commitment would be full-time — kind of.

“Anybody with any responsibility knows how to prioritize, and the city will be my number-one priority,” Meeks said.

Recently, a group of African-American business leaders under the name the Chicago Coalition for Mayor chose two finalists for their “consensus” black candidate for mayor. Meeks was not one of them.

Instead, they chose former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers

Last week, Meeks’ communications director Brian Zises sloughed off the insult.

“We’re not too concerned. It doesn’t come as a surprise. We don’t know who that coalition is speaking for,” Zises said last week.

Meeks has previously indicated that he plans to run for mayor regardless of who the coalition picks as its “consensus candidate.”

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