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Meeks Seeks Corporate Support

By Kevin Robinson in News on Dec 8, 2010 2:30PM

Photo via Meeks's Facebook Fan Page.
Mayoral candidate James Meeks is seeking support from the city's corporate community, according to a report by Crain's Chicago Business. Several weeks ago Meeks had breakfast with a group of corporate heads to talk about school vouchers, cuts to city spending and his experience as arguably the largest employer in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood.

“I totally get it,” Mr. Meeks told Crain's. “I've built buildings. I meet a payroll. I've had to lay people off. When I tell people that, they say, ‘Oh, you are a businessman.' “

The report adds dimension to the portrait of Meeks's candidacy as an alternative version of Harold Washington's, describing the center-right coalition he's building in his run. The includes socially conservative Chicagoans in both the black community and among city Republicans. Counting among his high-profile supporters former Illinois GOP Chairman Andrew McKenna Jr. and Commonwealth Edison Co. CEO Frank Clark, who have both expressed admiration for Meeks's pro-business, pro-reform stances on public policy.

With a crowded field of candidates and a powerful candidate in Rahm Emanuel, the notion of Meeks becoming a serious challenger to the conventional wisdom of Emanuel as a sure-thing is gaining traction. If the city's business community and independent conservatives get behind him, and the black vote splits in his favor, Meeks could give the city's political establishment a run for its money.