CHICAGO (CBS) – Reaction is mixed to a coalition of black leaders choosing Congressman Danny Davis as its so-called consensus candidate for mayor.
The Chicago Coalition for Mayor, a group comprising 50 political and business leaders in the African American community, on Friday identified Davis as its top choice. They passed over several other black hopefuls, including former U.S. Carol Moseley Braun and state Sen. James Meeks.
Churchgoer Joanne Smith thinks singling out one African-American candidate makes sense.
“If they put them all together they will be fighting against each other,” she told CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole on Sunday.
But Larry Williams, getting coffee at a South Side Dunkin Donuts, said he doesn’t like someone else making the choice for him. At a nearby brunch, Peggy Salter agreed.
“They can’t speak for me,” she said.
The decision on Davis followed two months of closed-door sessions for the Chicago Coalition for Mayor. They met Friday Davis.
“They are in essence saying, ‘We believe that you can provide the leadership that we are looking for,’” Davis told CBS 2 Saturday.
Moseley Braun, who elicited strong early support from the coalition, downplayed the group’s decision to go with Davis.
“Any candidate for mayor of Chicago must have support from every community,” she said in a statement. “We will learn who the real consensus candidate is on Election Day.”
The criticism didn’t stop there. Pastor Ira Acree said he decided to distance himself from the process when it seemed the coalition wasn’t really looking for new leadership to replace Mayor Richard M. Daley.
“Many of Daley’s minions were kinda in charge of the process, ” Acree, of the Greater St. John Baptist Church on the West Side, said.
Meeks also met with the committee on Friday.
“It seems as though the coalition reverses course weekly, but they are just one coalition in a very large city,” a spokesperson said.
Coalition members are on record as being concerned that Moseley Braun has been out of the public eye too long. They were also afraid that Meeks’ past statements on abortion and homosexuality could pose problems. In the end, members say they chose Davis because of his strong understanding of how the city works.
The coalition is trying to avoid a splintering of Chicago’s potentially powerful black vote by throwing support behind a single candidate.