Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Carol Moseley Braun Ran a Flawed Campaign

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In conceding the Chicago mayoral race, Carol Moseley Braun congratulates Rahm Emanuel and hopes the city can unite for a common cause.

At one time in her life, Carol Moseley Braun was a strong candidate.

That was back in 1992 when she ran for U.S. Senate.

In 2011, when Moseley Braun ran for Mayor of Chicago as the consensus black candidate, she was not strong. For proof, look at her less than 10 percent showing in the results this evening. She didn't win a single ward and was out paced in the black community by Rahm Emanuel.

From fundraising, to messaging, to demeanor, the one-time presidential candidate looked like a novice playing with professionals.

Moseley Braun often arrived late to events, appeared out of sorts when she did arrive and worst of all, she let gaffes become the hallmark of her run to replace Richard M. Daley.

The most infamous quip came during an event at a South Side Megachurch when she accused marginal opponent Patricia Van Pelt Watkins of being "strung out on crack" for the past 20 years.

Her unscripted outburst sent shockwaves through the electorate: why would a leading candidate revert to an attack on a candidate who polled at less than 1 percent of the vote? And why would she accuse a fellow African American woman of such a base activity.

Shortly after  uttering the accusation, her poll numbers plummeted. But that wasn't the beginning of her descent.

Moseley Braun also looked downright foolish during a web broadcast of the Chicago Tribune editorial board meeting when she had a chance to question her opponents. She used her question to interrogate Rahm Emanuel about a rumored incident when he allegedly told a white House staff member to remove his feminine product and man-up.

"I want to talk about tampons," Moseley Braun said during the event.

Emanuel parried and Braun appeared petty. There were other instances during the campaign, like when she compared Emanuel to a fictional Hitler supporter, or when she said that Bill Clinton owed a debt to the Chicago African American community because they supported him through his Monica Lewinski ordeal.

But where these momentary lapses in judgement may have been forgivable, one of the more shocking developments of the Moseley Braun campaign came during financial disclosure reporting, when it became apparent the candidate didn't even know how much money she had in the bank.

On the eve of the disclosure filing, she told reporters that she didn't know what the reports would indicate. She then estimated that she had more than $600,000 in fundraising.

Then she missed the deadline to file. Once her report did make it to the appropriate location, it became clear she had grossly over-estimated her fundraising haul. She had just over $100,000 on hand.

The gaffes, the disheveled performances and loose campaign structure led to what she got, a TK finish in the first open mayoral race in decades.

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