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Meeks Meets Gay Voters, Rahm Targets Black Voters

By Kevin Robinson in News on Dec 9, 2010 2:00PM

Mayoral candidate Rev. James Meeks paid a visit to Ann Sather's on Belmont on Wednesday, part of his "50 wards in 50 days" tour. The visit was part of Meeks's ongoing outreach to Chicago's gay community. Ann Sather's is owned by Tom Tunney, the first openly gay alderman in Chicago. "I'm reaching out today," Meeks told the Sun-Times before entering the restaurant.

While Meeks's stance on issues like civil unions and gay marriage have rubbed some voters the wrong way, he seems to have made an impact on those who met him. “We’ve been reading about him. I don’t know who I’m voting for, but he made a good impression,” Bill Tompsett, 61, told the Sun-Times. Frank Nussbaum, who is gay, took the opportunity to confront Meeks over his recent vote against civil unions in Illinois as a state senator. “I believe in the sanctity of marriage,” Meeks said. “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.” Nussbaum responded to Meeks, saying “I disagree with you, and I respect you,” adding "sanctity — that’s a religious term. It has nothing to do with a civil union. You’re in a restaurant owned by a gay man.” Nevertheless, Nussbaum told Meeks “I could be convinced to vote for you, but I doubt it.”

Rahm Emanuel, on the other hand, is reaching out to black voters with a new radio advertisement airing on WGCI, one of the most popular "urban contemporary" radio stations in the city. In the ad Annette Nance-Holt, mother of slain Chicago Public Schools student Blair Holt, endorses Emanuel. Nance-Holt cites Emanuel's time in the Clinton administration, still a powerful draw among African American voters, and she even quotes President Barack Obama's statement that Emanuel "would be a terrific mayor."