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Black Pols Make Show Of Unity For Braun

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Carol Moseley Braun, Danny Davis and James Meeks at Rainbow/PUSH rally

Former mayoral candidates Danny Davis (left) and James Meeks (right) attended a New Year’s Day rally at Rainbow/PUSH headquarters to show their support for Carol Moseley Braun, the only major black candidate remaining in the race for mayor. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Many of Chicago’s African-American political leaders gathered at Rainbow/PUSH headquarters on Saturday to show support for Carol Moseley Braun, the one major black candidate left in the race for Chicago mayor.

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, they gathered a day after Congressman Danny Davis ended his campaign and endorsed Braun.

“Obviously, having Congressman Davis’ endorsement is very significant for our effort,” Braun said.

Money appeared to have a big role in Davis’ decision to back out of the mayor’s race and throw his support behind Braun.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel Reports

Rev. Jesse Jackson, who met with Davis and Braun last week about choosing a mayoral African American “consensus candidate,” has confirmed that there wasn’t enough money to fund two campaigns.

With Davis exiting the mayoral race and backing her, Braun said her campaign will build momentum.

At first, Davis had been chosen as the so-called “consensus candidate” by a coalition of African-American religious leaders, politicians and business people.

“They all concluded that it should be me and I’m just so grateful, that they did. I’ve won three times in the city of Chicago,” Braun said. “I have the most credentials and the most qualifications and experience of all of the candidates running.”

“Rather than split up which might become less than enough, why don’t you put all of what you can get in a place and make it work,” said Davis.

State Sen. and Rev. James Meeks, who dropped out of the mayor’s race earlier in December, also showed up Saturday to support Braun.

Jackson had been working to broker a deal to have just one major black candidate in the race. Davis and Braun had met earlier in the week, but both candidates had insisted as recently as Thursday that they weren’t dropping out.

That all changed Friday.

“There was nothing personal, venomnous they had to overcome. They just figured, we share values,” Jackson said. “Who can get the resources to make it happen? And Carol in the end had the edge.”

Political analyst, Paul Green – Director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University – said Braun’s edge comes in the form of financial support.

“Clearly, Carol Moseley Braun has got some real money behind her, certainly more than Danny Davis,” Green said. “He was showing courage and showing team play. He really didn’t have any other option.”

When asked if what’s happened with Meeks, Davis and Braun also could happen with the two Latino candidates – former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel Del Valle – Green said, “I think there’s a very good possibility.”

When asked about the chance of a split vote, Del Valle said, “I really believe that most voters in the city of Chicago are beyond race. (President Barack Obama’s) election proved that.”

“What is best for the city of Chicago is for the people to come together and people from neighborhoods across the city, to determine who will represent them, and who is the best person to unify the entire city,” he added.

A spokesperson for Gery Chico said Chico is focused on building a winning coalition across racial and ethnic lines. He wants to be a mayor for all Chicagoans.

Rahm Emanuel, the frontrunner in the race for mayor, issued a statement, which says in part, “With all of the challenges we face, we must come together to work on behalf of all Chicagoans and address the needs of every neighborhood.”

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