They've been talking about the race for weeks, but several Chicago mayoral hopefuls, including former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and antigay megachurch pastor James Meeks, will officially announce their candidacies this weekend, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Also announcing will be Danny Davis, a former Chicago alderman and current congressman who has been chosen as the consensus black candidate by a group of African-American leaders in the city.
Davis has a pro-gay record in Congress, as Emanuel did in his three terms, from 2003 to 2009. Emanuel, however, has drawn the ire of some gay activists who hold him responsible for President Obama's lack of movement on key LGBT rights measures; he was Obama's chief of staff from early 2009 until October of this year, when he resigned to enter the mayoral race. Meeks, who has been a spiritual adviser to Obama, has taken antigay stands both in the pulpit and as an Illinois state senator, but he met with Chicago gay leaders this fall in an effort to build bridges.
Monday is the first day for candidates to file their nominating petitions for the February 22 municipal election, which is officially nonpartisan, although virtually all the serious candidates are Democrats. There will be a runoff April 5 if necessary. The mayor's race became a wide-open contest when Richard M. Daley, who has held the office since 1989, announced he would not seek reelection.