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Braun gets official stamp of consensus candidate

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun smiled and danced on-stage at Rainbow/PUSH headquarters Saturday morning as Rev. Jesse Jackson gathered together her former rivals for mayor to endorse her as the long-awaited “consensus candidate” of the Black community.

“We need one African-American candidate running for mayor of the city of Chicago,” State Sen. James Meeks, a former rival, told the packed house. “People said we would never come together; that our egos were too big; but we proved everybody wrong.”

Moseley Braun beamed her smile and said, “We’re getting the band back together ... Dr. King has to be smiling on this day because we have the coalition together again.”

Rep. Danny Davis asked all his supporters to join Mosely Braun’s bandwagon, saying he made his painful decision to drop out of the race and support her because only one of them running with the united support of black and progressive voters could hope to overcome Rahm Emanuel, the far-better-financed front-runner.

“Communities have what communities have and rather than split up that which might become less than enough, why don’t you put all of what you can get into a place where it can work,” Davis said.

Not just the politicians, but the black community’s deep pockets were on the stage.

Developer Elzie Higginbottom joined the four, along with U.S. representatives Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Bobby Rush, on stage.

It was a push from black businessmen who’d wanted a single candidate to back, that had helped convince Davis late Friday to withdraw and back Braun.

Braun ribbed Davis about giving her little notice Friday night, of his decision to endorse her, saying, “He gave me all of 25 minutes to get to his office to talk about how we could come together to make the case for the people.”

What had initially been planned as a jobs rally Saturday morning at Rainbow/PUSH converted somewhat into a voter-registration rally, with the Rev. Jackson reminding attendees they have until Jan. 25 to register to vote in the mayoral election.

“If you are not registered to vote, please stand,” he said, before sending Rainbow/PUSH staff out into the crowd to help register voters, adding, “We can change the course of our city and our nation.” It was a massive voter registration drive in 1983 that helped elect Chicago’s first Black mayor, Harold Washington.

When Rep. Jackson asked unemployed people to bring him 15,000 resumes so he could pass them along to Gov. Quinn to remind him that creating an airport in Peotone could bring 15,000 jobs to the region, others tied their remarks to that theme.

“We have a lot of resumes for this vacancy at City Hall, but there’s only one job there,” Davis said. “There were simply more resumes than there were jobs.”

Said Moseley Braun: “We’re talking about resumes. Let me give you mine. I’m the most qualified candidate for the job of mayor of Chicago.”

She ticked off her stints in the U.S. Attorney’s office, as Mayor Harold Washington’s floor leader in the state legislature; and as Cook County Recorder of Deeds, U.S. senator, and ambassador to New Zealand, along with her most recent stint as an entrepreneur.

Other candidates in the race include attorney Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel del Valle.

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