* Rev. Sen. James Meeks dropped out of the mayor’s race today, just as the Sun-Times reported he’d do yesterday. Tribune…
“It is long past time that we build on the tremendous successes of the great Harold Washington and his administration by electing another African-American to become our mayor. But as long as our community remains divided and splintered – to the specific advantage of the front-running, status quo candidates – we will never see things improve. We need to speak with one voice.
“So, even as I continue to believe that I would be both the best prepared and the most electorally viable candidate in this race, I have chosen to lead by example. I am hereby announcing my withdrawal from this race, and am urging the other African-American candidates to do likewise.
“In so doing, I am endorsing no one person; rather, I am asking all of the African-American candidates to subordinate their own candidacies to the greater good of our city and our community, and submit to a caucus of clergy, elected officials, and residents whose sole purpose shall be to winnow the remaining field down to one candidate. Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for Mayor this year; I want to be a part of this process, and there should be no question about my motives,” the statement read.
The Tribune also reported that Meeks was balking at releasing his income tax returns.
* The Sun-Times has react from the other two black candidates. Meeks urged that one of the two drop out as well…
No chance, Davis and Braun told the Chicago Sun-Times.
While Meeks is dropping out, Davis says he’s “dropping in,” and is moving ahead with planned fund-raisers, endorsement sessions and town hall discussions. I’m moving ahead.”
Moseley Braun spokeswoman Renee Ferguson said the former senator also is “in the race for good.”
In November, a coalition of black clergy members, business leaders and community activists concerned about splitting the black vote selected Davis as their preferred candidate. A Chicago Tribune/WGN poll released earlier this month showed Davis was the leading black candidate in the crowded field, with support from 9 percent of registered likely voters.
Meeks followed with 7 percent, and Braun had 6 percent.
A spokeswoman for the coalition, Tracey Alston, said Thursday that group leaders are still convinced one black unity candidate will emerge.
“Stay tuned,” Alston said. “The process is ongoing. It will remain ongoing until there is one candidate.”