UPDATED 11/5/10 5:38 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — State Sen. Rickey Hendon has withdrawn from the Chicago mayor’s race, a week after it was revealed that a federal grand jury subpoenaed records on several state grants, some of which Hendon sponsored.
As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, Hendon said those subpoenas had no impact on his decision to drop out of the race.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that my candidacy is not worth causing disunity within the African-American community, or consternation from those who don’t really understand who Rickey Hendon is,” Hendon said Friday.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports
However, Hendon said the discovery that he has high blood pressure did play a role in his decision to call off his mayoral campaign. The main reason, though, was being rejected by a coalition of African-American business and community leaders that have been seeking a so-called “consensus candidate.”
“This is an emotional decision right now,” Hendon said.
Hendon said he decided to end his bid for mayor after those black leaders narrowed their choices down to former U.S. senator Carol Mosley Braun and Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers and then called back U.S. Congressman Danny Davis, and State Sen. James Meeks after first eliminating them as picks.
Negative feedback from Coalition members this week forced the Coalition to re-start the process.
“When they did not call me back it sent a clear message to me that I was not going to be the consensus candidate,” Hendon said.
Hendon admits it might be tough for the group to unite behind one black candidate. Everybody has their picks, including him.
Hendon said he hopes to help select the consensus candidate, but he said that doesn’t mean he will back whoever is the choice of the coalition.
“There are two black candidates that I would not be satisfied with. There is one Latino candidate that I simply could not support,” he said, “and that’s about it.” He wouldn’t specify which candidates he wouldn’t support.
It might not make a difference which person the group chooses, because Meeks has already said he’ll run, even if black leaders don’t pick him.
However, sources told CBS 2 that there’s a chance Meeks would back out if the group chooses Davis.
At Izola’s restaurant in Chatham, where black leaders once gathered to support the late Harold Washington as the consensus black candidate, patrons couldn’t agree on the concept on Friday.
“I think the people should chose who they want. I don’t need a group to decide for me,” said Chatham resident Albert Sweeten.
But Tommy Johnson disagreed.
“It’s important because as long as you have division it’s like divide and conquer…you have to sit down and come up with one person,” Johnson said.
Black leaders were hoping to prove the naysayers wrong and make a decision Friday night.
The coalition is expected to vote later Friday on one candidate out of four finalists.
WBBM Newsradio 780’s Craig Dellimore and CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker contributed to this report.
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