Meeks Resurrects Idea Of Consensus Black Candidate

CHICAGO (CBS) — State Sen. James Meeks on Wednesday called on the his two fellow African-American candidates for mayor to get together to decide which of them has the best chance to win and then have all three back that candidate.

But the surprising suggestion was quickly shot down.

It certainly wasn’t the first effort at picking a consensus African-American candidate to run for mayor.

After Mayor Richard M. Daley announced he wouldn’t seek another term, a group of African-American business and community leaders engaged in a confusing and controversial process to pick a so-called “consensus candidate.”

They ultimately decided to back U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, but that didn’t stop Meeks and former U.S. Sen. and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun from running too.

On Wednesday, Meeks apparently took another stab at coming up with a consensus candidate.

During an panel discussion WVON Radio, host Cliff Kelley held up a cover story from the Chicago Defender – the historic black newspaper – with the headline “If All Three Run, We Lose.”

Meeks and Braun were in the studio with Kelley, while Davis was on the phone from O’Hare International Airport, when Meeks made the startling offer.

“My hope is that before December the 21st, that the Ambassador, Congressman Davis and myself come together and sit down and have a discussion,” Meeks said. “I am willing to sit down at the table and have a serious conversation with the two of them about what’s at stake.”

It was an offer that Davis seemed to consider, but that Braun immediately rejected.

“The short answer is I’m not dropping out,” Braun said. “I’m in it to win it and I’m in it to the end and … I’m giving no quarter on this.”

Davis said, “I certainly don’t have a problem with that at all. I don’t know anybody who pushes the concept of unity more than I have.”

Davis was picked as the consensus candidate only after the group of business leaders had first narrowed their picks down to Meeks and Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers. Not long after, they restarted the process with Meeks, Braun, Davis and Rogers.

Just about the only thing the Meeks, Davis and Braun agreed on Wednesday was the need for equal opportunity, fairness and balanced leadership for all Chicagoans.

Meeks’ trial balloon for all three backing the candidate with the best chance quickly went down in flames.

Earlier in the day, Meeks unveiled his education plan, which included a call for full-day kindergarten citywide, doubling reading and math instruction time in grades 1 through 3 and offering $4,500 school vouchers to 50,000 low-income students to attend any school in the city.

It was another concept Braun immediately rejected.

“The Senator would like to privatize our schools,” Braun said.

But Meeks said “it’s going to take us at least 7 to 10 years before we turn this system around. Why not give 50,000 students and their parents a choice?”

It’s a concept Meeks has pushed in the state legislature before, but his proposals have been shot down. He said he thinks if he’s elected mayor, lawmakers would be more willing to go along with his plan.

  • keith

    how could you not call this racism

  • christopher

    Great! Can’t wait for Chicago to become the new Detroit!!!

  • hotdogs

    whats racist about it?

    • mohawk

      Nothing at all so I shouldn’t get any flack when i propose that one white candidate should be chosen to solidify the white vote RIGHT.

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  • john

    Anyone with an understanding of Chicago politics knows that Braun is a shill for Rahm.

  • dupage co.

    it is only racism if white people came up with an idea like that, black people can say , and do anything they want and it is a-ok

  • Redsea

    Dupage co. White folks never ran a white male or female against Daley since he been in office. That’s called racism in my opinion.

  • simon legree

    I heard Meeks on the radio the other day. Is he that illiterate or does he hope to appeal to the other dummies that will vote for him?

  • jack sprat

    If Mostly Brown can get the black, obese female vote, their number alone should make her a shoo in.

  • jmg

    Redsea, you should check your facts before you make such a claim. You’re totally wrong.

  • The Truth

    Jack Sprat, that is wrong yet hilarious. To the minorities, if three white candidates rallied together and stated “if we all run, we lose” wouldn’t that be racism?! Funny how there are always exceptions!!!!

  • Philip J. Wayne

    The three stooges, Meeks, Mostly Fraud and Davis….Emmanuel is still the leader even if you take all of their votes……..RACISM WITH A CAPITAL R…..WHAT A JOKE.

  • Common Sense

    Meeks is a racist and unrealistic with his policy decisions. He should not be near any decision-making for this city or state, But look who votes him in….the uneducated liberals that only vote black.

  • Larry

    This whole election is a joke.

    Second, notice how Levine says something about 20% of the vote to get into the runoff? Nice explanation, Jay. More shoddy reporting.

  • Roberta Waker

    They are ALL scared to death than Rahm will win, especially since he is leading in the polls by 43%. If the vote is split, none of them will win. They should sit down and decide who has the best chance to win – that DOES make sense and it isn’t racist.



  • southside

    Who is the white candidate? Rahm is the carpetbagging Jewish candidate

  • Gee-reg

    White people should unite to oust all blacks out of office. It’s not racist it is just white pride !!!!

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