UPDATED 11/15/10 6:32 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – They’re no longer “likely” or “rumored.”
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), state Sen. Rev. James Meeks (D-Chicago), and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have all officially declared their candidacy for mayor, and all the candidates will now take the next step by officially filing their petitions.
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As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, candidates for aldermen, city treasurer, and at least one for mayor were lined up before dawn outside the George W. Dunne Cook County Office Building, 69 W. Washington St., where the Chicago Board of Elections should be buzzing very soon. The candidates were quick to enter the building when the doors opened at 6 a.m.
Candidates have until Nov. 22 to file the required 12,500 signatures to run for mayor. Some were still gathering names — and announcing their candidacies — over the weekend.
One of the candidates who announced over the weekend was Meeks, who made a fiery speech Sunday at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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“We need new leadership! We need a leader who cares! We need a leader with compassion!” Meeks said in his speech to a crowd that included many members of his Salem Baptist Church. “We need a leader who will bring people out of this division and turmoil to a place called unity and peace!”
Davis also announced Sunday. He told a crowd at the Hotel Allegro downtown that he hopes to “improve efficiency and productivity, get rid of waste and duplication, create new systems, find new sources of revenue, and keep working until the job is done.”
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Davis was one of many candidates for mayor in the special election 1989 to finish late Mayor Harold Washington’s unexpired term, in which Mayor Richard M. Daley was ultimately elected for the first time. Davis ran against Daley again in 1991, but lost to a ratio of more than two to one.
But now, Daley has announced his retirement, and Davis is the “consensus” African-American candidate selected by the Chicago Coalition for Mayor, a group of African-American business, clergy and political leaders.
But despite the hopes of the coalition, Davis will not be the only African-American in the race. Not only Meeks, but former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, have also thrown their hats in the ring.
Braun, who has yet to announce officially, was dismissive of the Coalition for Mayor and its process.
“I don’t think the process was one that lent itself to a deliberative conversation about what really matters in the African-American community,” she told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine.
On Saturday, Emanuel formally announced his candidacy, saying, “I want to fight for a better future for all the people of Chicago.”
Speaking at a school in the Albany Park neighborhood that he represented as a member of Congress, Emanuel said, “because I love this city – the place my family came to, the place where I was born – I want to fight for a better future for all the people of Chicago. And that’s why, today, I’m announcing my candidacy for mayor.”
Emanuel was talking about a possible mayoral run as far back as April, but at the time he said he would only run if Mayor Daley decided to retire. As it happened, Daley did just that in September.
Several other candidates officially announced their run for mayor some time ago, including city Clerk Miguel Del Valle, whose son, Miguel Del Valle Jr., was waiting outside the county office building Monday morning on his behalf.
Also out early Monday was the Rev. Wilfredo de Jesus, pastor of New Life Covenant Ministries, who has also announced his intentions to run for mayor.
“This is a historical day in the City of Chicago, and I’m a Chicagoan, and I think this is important to the people – the voice that I represent – to be here in line and to be able to take advantage of our message to the city,” de Jesus told CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez.
Former Chicago School Board president and Daley chief of staff Gery Chico also announced his intention to run for mayor some time ago.
Civil rights attorney Christopher Cooper, community activist and previous mayoral candidate William “Dock” Walls, artist Cynthia “Plaster Caster” Albritton, conservative magazine editor R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Streets and Sanitation Department truck driver Frederick K. White, and hypnotherapist Jay Stone – the son of Ald. Bernard Stone (50th) – are among the others who have declared their candidacy.