Carol Moseley Braun Next Chicago Mayor?

Chicago's next mayor will be either Rahm Emanuel or Carol Moseley Braun.

With yesterday’s withdrawal of Congressman Danny K. Davis from the race, former Senator Carol Mosely Braun is the only significant black candidate for mayor of Chicago.

Danny K. Davis, a longtime United States representative, has dropped out of the race to become Chicago’s mayor, creating the situation that black leaders here had for months been clamoring for: a campaign that includes only one major African-American candidate.

Carol Moseley Braun, a former senator, became that candidate this weekend, as Mr. Davis announced his plans to step aside and to support Ms. Braun. The Rev. James T. Meeks, the pastor of a large South Side church, quit his campaign about a week ago.

Pressure to unite around one African-American candidate has been bubbling here for months, in part out of fear that the city’s black vote would be split — diminishing its influence and all but ensuring that a white candidate (like Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff) or a Latino candidate (like Gery Chico, a former board of education leader) might win on Feb. 22.

Apparently, Jesse Jackson Sr. brokered this deal. The concern was that Rahm Emanuel, with the active endorsement of Bill Clinton and the tacit endorsement of President Obama, had risen to the top of the polls. Chicago is roughly 42% white, 37% black, and 26% Hispanic, so a divided black vote would pretty much ensure a white victor.

A Chicago Tribune poll taken two weeks ago showed Emanuel with 32% and Undecided with 30%.   Chico and Davis each had 9%, Meeks 7%, and Braun 6%.    How they convinced Davis and Meeks to drop out in favor of Braun, who was behind both of them in the race, I haven’t the foggiest.  Perhaps she was simply the most recalcitrant.  Or maybe they have polling showing that she’s the one of the three most likely to garner cross-over voting from whites and Hispanics.  (Which would make sense:  She did manage to win a statewide race for US Senate some years back.)

Chicagoan Dave Schuler is, as is his wont, exasperated with the poor quality of his choices.   He’s currently backing Chico as “the lesser of two weevils.”   But it certainly looks like it’ll come down to an Emanuel-Braun contest.    The combined early polling on the three black candidates is still well behind Emanuel’s, but I haven’t a clue as to how close to his ceiling 32% represents.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    A note on Gery Chico: he’s not just former head of CPS and the Chicago City Colleges. He was Richie Daleys chief of staff. I sincerely hope that the primary isn’t solely about racial politics but things are certainly looking that way now and the coverage does seem to be spinning that way.

  2. Curmudgeon says:

    Davis could have been easily pushed out by Clinton for his overt criticism of Der Schleikmeister.

  3. Doc E says:

    If Braun wants to increase here chances for sucess, she should make one of her priority platforms, the re-opening of Meigs airport. There were many economic benefits to the State of Il, City of Chicago & the region.