After sponsoring a recent potential candidates forum one organization narrowed to four finalists its search for a Chicago mayoral candidate. The forum was closed to the press.

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After sponsoring a recent potential candidates forum one organization narrowed to four finalists its search for a Chicago mayoral candidate. The forum was closed to the press.

U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-7th, state Sen. James Meeks, D-15th Dist., Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers, and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, are the four finalists who were chosen as potential Black mayoral candidates the coalition would throw its support behind.

On Wednesday the Chicago Coalition of Mayor is expected to dwindle that number down to two.

“Each of the four finalists have been interviewed and we plan to narrow the list down to two finalists by Wednesday,” Tracey Alston, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Coalition for Mayor, told the Defender. “And we will be selecting a final candidate shortly thereafter.”

Alston said the coalition is a community organization started mostly by the city council’s Black Caucus members – headed by Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) – but also includes clergy, civic and business leaders. She explained that the group was “just concerned and very motivated” to find one Black candidate for mayor to rally around.

The office of mayor is up for grabs for the first time in two decades, following Mayor Richard M. Daley’s announcement that he would not seek re-election in February. Since then a number of people expressed their desire to be the city’s chief executive, including a number of Black politicians and businessmen.

Alston said her group hopes to narrow the pool of Black potential candidates and throw its support behind a single one. The purpose of the coalition, which represents 62 organizations, selecting a mayoral candidate is to make sure Chicagoans have a consensus candidate representing their needs, she explained.

“It has always been our intent to bring fourth the best African American candidate who would represent all of Chicago,” Alston said.

According to Alston, the finalists gave “non-definitive answers” when the coalition asked if they would be willing to step aside if the organization did not select them as its consensus candidate.

But the Defender found out that some would and some would not go for that.

"I respect what the Coalition is trying to do and have committed to not running if I am not chosen in an open and fair process," Rogers told the Defender. "Up to this point it has been an open and fair process and I do not expect that to


Davis said he would step aside if not chosen. The West Side congressman is up for re-election Tuesday.

Braun said through her spokeswoman, Renee Ferguson, “I will cross that bridge when I get to it.”

And Meeks said he would not agree to step aside.

None of the finalists have officially declared themselves a candidate but all said they are considering a run and plan to make a decision by Nov. 22, when each candidates must file petitions with the Chicago Board of Elections signed by at least 12,500 registered voters in order to be placed on the Feb. 22, 2011 ballot.

So far, only William “Dock” Walls, a community organizer, and state Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-5th Dist., are the only Black, declared mayoral candidates.

Beyond its stamp of approval the coalition plans to offer its candidate financial support through fundraisers and other vast resources, added Alston.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

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