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Will Meeks Drop Out of the Race for Mayor?

By Kevin Robinson in News on Dec 23, 2010 2:30PM

The Sun-Times reported on a meeting between mayoral candidates Carol Moseley Braun, Danny Davis and James Meeks yesterday. Ostensibly a meeting to make a last-ditch effort to unite behind a single consensus black candidate for mayor, Davis told the Sun-Times that they discussed “factors that will contribute most significantly to victory for whoever is running and their chances of being successful,” and the timing of the meeting - one day before the deadline to withdraw from the race - is fueling speculation that Meeks may withdraw his candidacy.

Nonetheless, Davis implied that someone may be leaving the race shortly. "There is a seriously good chance that all the individuals that are currently now candidates will not necessarily be candidates when the deal goes down. Maybe ‘deal’ is a bad word to use, but when the ultimate decision is made by the community,” he said. In fact, speculation by the Sun-Times led campaign spokespeople to do that time-honored political tradition of tap-dancing around the question at hand. “I don’t know if anyone will take their name off the ballot... but they all need to take a look at what’s real here. And what’s real is that (Moseley Braun) has the polling numbers, she has the organization and the ability to raise money. And she’s doing it,” Moseley Braun’s spokeswoman Renee Ferguson said. “All that is what matters.”

And Meeks's spokesman, Bryan Zises, told the paper that “He’s gotten nothing but encouragement from people, particularly in the African-American community, for speaking out about the minority- and women-owned business program,’’ and is “very clearly not dropping out’’ in spite of the recent controversy over Meeks's statements about minority contracting in the city. Meeks suggested last week that only African Americans should be eligible for city contract set-asides for minority businesses. He backtracked twice on that statement before changing the subject to corruption in city contracting. First he said that he would only exclude white women from minority city contracts, and then he tried to challenge the integrity of the minority set-aside program, accusing white-owned "fronts" of posing as minorities to win city contracts, making African Americans the “most under-represented among city contractors.”

Aside from speculation in the Sun-Times, Rich Miller said on his blog, Capitol Fax, that "I’m not sure I totally believe the campaign’s denial."