* The Fox News Channel ran a story about former Democratic state Senator Rev. James Meeks’ support for Republican Bruce Rauner…
“The Democratic party just assume always that 97 percent of the African-American vote will go to the Democratic party. If that assumption is true, they never have to work for our vote,” Meeks said.
He speaks of the gun violence that plagues Chicago’s West and South Sides, the poverty and the appearance that there is no end in sight. “Our schools are still broken and getting worse. We’re last in employment or business. Our neighborhoods are deplorable,” says Meeks. “And we still get the same promises from the Democratic party, but we don’t get any deliverable. I think it’s time we should look at another candidate.”
Chicago political analyst Thom Serafin says few Republicans have been able to win statewide in Illinois without collecting 20 percent of the city vote. To do that, a candidate must win a significant portion of the African-American vote. Serafin believes Meeks can deliver. “He understands what it means to turn out the vote here in the city. He is well respected,” he said. […]
Rauner has already had an opportunity to speak to the faithful at Salem Baptist and Meeks is talking with other pastors about getting Rauner to speak to more African-American congregations.
“I would hope that I would get a chance to influence a lot of African-Americans to look at how we, as a voting bloc, [are] being take
The first time I had a chance to see just how influential Meeks was came during a visit to Springfield by then Mayor Daley. Hizzoner was in town for various meetings, and either before or after walking into the governor’s office, Daley made sure to have a long chat with Meeks, who was standing nearby. Speaker Madigan did the same. Other powerful folks walked up to pay tribute.
He’s lost some of his juice since then - on-again-off-again runs for governor and mayor had a lot to do with it - but he still wields a bunch of influence in the city.
Rev. Meeks has the second largest congregation of any church in the state. He has so many churchgoers that the city has required him to station ambulances outside during services. His church building is the state’s largest, with as much square footage as the United Center. He also has a big, old Catholic church that he uses for youth services. It’s quite an impressive operation.