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The Sun-Times is calling it a “political about-face.” The Chicago coalition of African American politicians, religious and community leaders met Friday night and unanimously chose to support Representative Danny Davis in the mayoral race. The finalists, announced last month, included former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers. Braun was originally thought to be the best contender for the coalition’s support, so it came as a surprise when the coalition announced it would be backing Rep. Davis. After being re-elected to eighth term in last week’s elections, Davis says he’s “ready to run” for mayor of Chicago.

The coalition is meant to unify the African American vote in Chicago, but with Braun and Rogers feeling slighted by the decision, will it end up dividing rather than unifying?

Okay, so it wasn’t a very good pun… But seriously reports are looking like former U.S. Senator Braun may be emerging as the other major contender for Chicago Mayor. At the very least, she’s stirring things up by hiring two “potentially controversial” political consultants to help out on her campaign. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Braun’s choice to call on Victor Reyes–Daley’s former political enforcer and co-founder of the scandalized Hispanic Democratic Organization–and Mike Noonan–a former House Speaker Michael Madigan political aide–“could allow Braun to climb into the top tier of mayoral candidates.” It’s a risky move, hiring two consultants who may leave a bad taste in the mouths of many voters, but when it all shakes out, both Reyes and Noonan have winning track records and connections to critical communities.

It’s still kind of early in the game, but here are the websites of who is officially running so far. The candidates have to get at least 12,500 signatures by Nov. 22 to be eligible to run. To be safe, they should try to get double that. For unannounced candidates, that number is hard to hit. So this is a list of candidates who have officially announced that they are running AND have an campaign official website. For a complete list of candidates (officially announced and speculative), check out: http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=481786 The list is sure to change as candidates drop out and others jump in, but you can get a feel for the current pool just by poking around a bit.

The Frontrunners

Rahm Emanuel. Former Chief of Staff for Obama. He quit his job to focus on his campaign. If we had to pick just one fruntrunner, it’d be Emanuel. He’s at least got the shiniest name recognition. http://www.chicagoforrahm.com/home/

Bob Fioretti. Alderman for Chicago’s 2nd Ward. http://chicago2ndward.com/

Tom Dart. Cook County Sheriff.  http://votefortomdart.com/ Thanks J Fresco for the update.

Miguel Del Valle. Chicago City Clerk. http://www.delvalleformayor.com/blog/home/

Carol Moseley Braun. Former U.S. Senator for Illinois and U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand. http://www.carolforchicago.com/

Gery Chico. City Colleges Chairman. http://www.chiconunes.com/gery-chico/

James Meeks. Illinois State Senator. http://www.ilga.gov/senate/Senator.asp?MemberID=1472

Luis Gutierrez. Represents Illinois’ “fightin’ fourth” district in the House.  http://www.gutierrez.house.gov/ Gutierrez announced on October 14 that he will not run.

Other Candidates

Garrison Medill. Independent political consultant based in Chicago. http://medillformayor.org/

Christopher Cooper. Civil Rights Attorney based in Chicago. http://www.christophercooperformayor2011.org/

Jay Stone. Political activist. http://stoneformayor.com/

William “Dock” Walls III. Community and political activist.  http://wallsformayor.com/

Frederick K. White. http://www.fredrick-k-white.com/

This blog will follow the Chicago Mayoral Race of 2011. Chicago needs new leadership. Where will we find it? The election will be held on February 22, 2011. GET INFORMED about the candidates and help shape Chicago’s future by VOTING!