The Chicago Coalition for Mayor announced in a press release Saturday that it had chosen Davis, a longtime congressman who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 1991, as the candidate it would back in the Feb. 22 race to succeed Mayor Richard Daley.
The announcement comes after weeks of mostly private meetings of the loosely formed group, which came together after Daley announced Sept 7 that he wouldn’t seek a seventh term.
The Chicago City Council’s black caucus started the process to select one consensus candidate with the hope that the African-American vote wouldn’t be split. It then expanded to include elected officials, religious groups, several youth organizations, labor union representatives, community organizations, business owners and professionals.
“After two months of organizing, implementing strategies, research and interviews,” the coalition went with Davis, an Austin resident who has served on the Chicago City Council and the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
Davis’ selection was a surprise to some, since a week earlier, he was not one of the coalition’s two finalists, prompting the congressman to tell AustinTalks that no Hispanic could win the mayoral seat.
“There are no Hispanic candidates who have the chance of winning,” Davis told AustinTalks Oct. 28t. “Do you think Miguel (del Valle) has a chance of winning? Do you think Gery Chico has a chance of winning? Do you think I have a chance of winning the lottery?”
Davis had been one of four finalists along with state Sen. James Meeks, U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers. The coalition’s list was whittled down to Moseley Braun and Rogers.
Last week, after easily winning an eighth term in Congress, CBS reported that Davis was still considering a bid to run for mayor. Earlier, David had said he wouldn’t run without the coalition’s support.
Over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported why the other two finalists weren’t chosen in the end. Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), chairman of the city council’s black caucus, said Davis impressed the coalition with his knowledge of city government. Burnett added that coalition members at the final interview session felt Moseley Braun’s time out of the public eye could make it hard for her to build support. Rogers “gave us the impression he wasn’t ready,” Burnett told the Tribune, and Meeks could have trouble citywide because of positions he has taken in the past against abortion and homosexuality.
Davis said he was pleased with winning the endorsement, telling the Sun-Times, “I’m ready to run.” And today, the Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg comments on the selection – and offered some thoughts about Moseley Braun and another mayoral candidate, Rahm Emanuel, who just held a fundraiser in California.