Though it seems like the race to replace Chicago Mayor Richard Daley started months ago, the official kickoff to the 2011 mayoral election begins next week, as candidates turn in their signatures and really hit the ground running.
When Daley announced that he would not be seeking reelection in September, all eyes turned to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who quickly packed up his things in D.C. and headed back to the Windy City. But, as Emanuel learned upon arriving in Chicago, he is far from the only candidate in this race.
The Chicago Coalition for Mayor, a group of African American leaders, has been debating for weeks about finding a "consensus candidate"--someone to represent the black community and possibly defeat likely frontrunner Emanuel. While several black Chicagoans stepped up to the plate--there does not appear to be an actual "consensus" at all.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said that he would be running with the Coalition's support--but state Sen. James Meeks and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun are not backing down.
Davis's plans "will have no impact on the Senator's plans," Moseley Braun's spokeswoman Renee Ferguson told Early and Often. The Chicago Tribune reports that Braun also secured the support of "millionaire investment manager John Rogers Jr."
Meeks, who was also being considered as the Coalition's "consensus candidate" before Davis was chosen, agreed.
"It seems as though the coalition reverses course weekly, so I like our chances that Sen. Meeks will be the consensus candidate next week," Meeks' spokesman Bryan Zises told the Chicago Sun-Times. "They are just one coalition in a very large city, and Sen. Meeks intends to be mayor for all of Chicago, not just a segment."
State Sen. Rickey Hendon, who previously said he would run for mayor, backed out and said he would support Davis.
"Danny Davis is the consensus candidate of the African-American community," Hendon told Early and Often. "No way no other black candidate can make it now."
But, even members of the leadership coalition who selected Davis are skeptical about a consensus.
"The politicians vote for a politician," coalition member Hermene Hartman told Early and Often. "The ministers are supporting Meeks. We do not have a consensus candidate. We have consistent candidates."
Davis is expected to make a formal announcement by the end of the week.