By Deanna Bellandi
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis declared his candidacy for mayor of Chicago on Sunday, joining a growing field of candidates that includes former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.
“I will be the mayor for all of Chicago. I will be the mayor for every racial and ethnic group, reaching out to all will be the benchmark of a Danny Davis administration,” Davis told more than 100 supporters at a downtown Chicago hotel.
The mayoral field was expected to grow again later Sunday when state Sen. James Meeks, the pastor of a megachurch on the city’s South Side, planned to officially join the race to replace Mayor Richard Daley, who announced in September he wouldn’t seek a seventh term. Emanuel formally announced his run Saturday. The election is Feb. 22.
Davis, a Democrat who has been in Congress since 1997, was tapped earlier this month by a coalition of black leaders as their preferred candidate over other finalists, including Meeks and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.
Braun, the country’s first black woman senator, has already opened a campaign office and plans an official announcement soon.
The coalition, which included elected officials, business owners and activists, had hoped to avoid splitting the black vote by uniting behind one candidate. Members said they chose Davis, who previously served on the Cook County Board and the Chicago City Council, because of his broad government experience.
Davis didn’t offer specific policies at his Sunday announcement and admitted he didn’t have the answers to all the city’s problems, including its financial woes.
“All of us know that there are no simple solutions to very complex problems, and I don’t pretend at the moment to have an answer to all our financial problems and the financial difficulties which face our city … no one does,” he said.
But Davis said he has never run from a problem and promised to work to create jobs and economic opportunities. He also said he would do everything in his power to save children from drug use, abuse, incarceration and poverty.
Davis was re-elected Nov. 2 with about 80 percent of the vote to another term representing a congressional district that spans economically and racially diverse areas from Chicago to the western suburbs.
His campaign said workers were collecting more signatures before filing nominating petitions later this week. The deadline is Nov. 22.
The mayoral race also includes City Clerk Miguel del Valle and former Chicago school board president Gery Chico, who have already declared.