State Sen. James Meeks on Monday reversed himself and said he is dropping his church duties to devote all his time to his campaign for Chicago mayor.
Meeks told the congregation of the 22,000-member Salem Missionary Baptist Church he has delegated "all day-to-day responsibility" for church operations to his senior staff, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
In a statement, Meeks said he made the move "so that he can fully prepare for his impending mayoral campaign'' to succeed Mayor Richard M. Daley, who announced Sept. 7 that he wouldn't seek a seventh term.
Last month, Meeks said he wouldn't give up his ministry if he is elected mayor. That led several African-American aldermen to virtually rule him out as a candidate to back in the mayoral race.
But a group of area pastors defended Meeks, saying there's no issue with a person holding political office while leading a congregation.
Meeks now says if elected, Salem Baptist's executive pastor, Dearal L. Jordan, would oversee day-to-day church activities.