Rahm Emanuel has secured another big endorsement in the Chicago mayoral race--Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
"I personally know the leading candidates for mayor and they are all good, honest and hardworking individuals," White said in a statement. "But to me one candidate stands out: Rahm Emanuel. He will bring to the office of Mayor his vast knowledge and experience that will prove to be an asset for all Chicagoans. He's tough, dedicated and focused. I applaud his efforts expand after-school programs to combat violence and improve academic performance."
White is a very popular African American politician who has held the Secretary of State title since 1998. He also founded the Jesse White Tumbling Team and is part of the 27th Ward Democratic Organization on the West Side.
While the news is great for Emanuel, especially following back-to-back endorsements by the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, it is another damaging blow to black "consensus candidate" Carol Moseley Braun.
What started as a crowded field of black candidates dwindled during the campaign season, and the city's black leaders threw their support behind Braun. As weeks passed, however, Emanuel won over more and more of the black community as Braun lost her second-place status to Gery Chico.
"The black political elite decided to push their support behind Carol Moseley Braun; that's why race has become prevalent in this election," Elce Redmond, a community organizer, told the Austin Daily News. "A lot of folks were really angry about just a few people deciding for the masses without any sort of real grassroots input. They could have held events across the city to debate and discuss it, rather than getting together in a room to decide who would be the African American candidate."
First, there was the utter arrogance around releasing her taxes (and the additional scrutiny that showed all those lakefronters that maybe she's not so great at handling money). Then there was leaving gay activist Mark Loveless abandoned in a room full of potential supporters. This week there was the absurdity of the non-existent Harvard degree.
But what may end up hurting Braun the most was the graceless way in which she attacked former President Bill Clinton for coming to help Emanuel in his bid for mayor. She not only called him an outsider and pulled the race card, but managed to bring back Monica Lewinsky. It was pretty shameless.
After the Clinton debacle, Braun a ccused her African American opponent Patricia Watkins of being "strung out on crack" during a South Side forum.
Even before the "crack" incident Braun was trailing Emanuel 40-39 among African-Americans. President Obama's endorsement hasn't hurt him, either.
"Many people in our community, when you talk to people in barbershops and cafeterias, have this perception that they are somehow helping Barack out [by supporting Emanuel]," Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin told the Austin Daily News.
NBC Chicago spoke with Al Kindle, an adviser to several South Side aldermanic candidates, who said Emanuel will need African American support to make up for his loss of blue-collar whites to Gery Chico. Kindle said thanks to Obama and Clinton--he has it.
"This race is not about one community versus another community...it's about who's best qualified to run the city of Chicago," White said Monday.
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