Meeks Bows Out

Sen. James Meeks has ended his campaign for mayor of Chicago.
The Illinois state senator and South Side reverend said his withdrawal was a move to "lead by example."  He said he'd requested the other African Americans in the race to also bow out "in the interest of unity and for the greater good of our community."

Those candidates include Sen. Danny Davis, Carol Moseley Braun and Doc Walls.

" 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," he said.

But for all his talk of unity, he was seen by many as a divisive figure.  He drew the ire of Chicago's gay community when he was the sole Democrat in the Illinois Senate to vote against a bill granting civil unions.  And he made moves last week to tamp
the firestorm created over comments he'd made about minority contracts and the groups that should be eligible for them.

Meeks spokeswoman Tasha Harris said the senator won't be making any further statements and will be spending the holidays with his family.

The passionate leader of Salem Baptist Church of Chicago declared his candidacy in mid-November

Following Meeks' announcement, Rahm Emanuel released a one sentence statement:

"Senator Meeks has long shed a light on the need for fundamental reform in our education system that puts students first and empowers community members to create change, and his voice will be welcomed in this dialogue as we all work together to strengthen our schools."

Later, candidate Miguel del Valle released a statement calling Meeks a "friend whose history of public service I respect."

"Sen. Meeks has admirably been engaging with voters on the issues that matter to them the most, including in the numerous forums we have already had to this point.  I encourage Sen. Meeks to continue to work hard to improve education in the State of Illinois when he returns to Springfield. I wish him the best," he said.

Meeks' full statement:

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