LOGAN SQUARE — Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) said he does not know the man who threatened the staff at the Logan Square office of U. S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago) Wednesday afternoon, even though the man identified himself as a Reboyras precinct captain.
The man vowed to do everything he could to re-elect Reboyras, who is running against Gutierrez’ daughter Jessica Washington Gutierrez while threatening his staff, the congressman said.
“The man proceeded to yell, curse, and insult the congressman’s staff, even going as far as to throw items around the office and at the congressman’s staff,” Gutierrez said in a statement that included links to a video of the incident. “The man left the office, but then came back to threaten the staff some more, as the second video shows.”
The congressman, who will leave office next month, opted not to run for mayor of Chicago in part to help his daughter’s bid for the City Council. The younger Gutierrez served as North Side field director for former Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s successful congressional run for Gutierrez’ spot.
Rep. Gutierrez asked the public for help identifying the man and said the incident is “emblematic of the fact that some people feel it is OK to behave this way in politics these days. I am grateful to the Chicago Police Department for investigating this incident and bringing this thug to face charges.”
Rep. Gutierrez told The Daily Line his staff recognized the man’s voice from phone calls.
“I talked to my staff here [in Washington] and they know him,” the congressman said. “They know him by his voice, he always says I’m a veteran, that I’m s—, that I’m a racist. He calls, but never before has he mentioned Ariel [Reboyras] or my daughter or campaigning.”
“You’re a f—— racist, homie,” the man says in one of two short videos posted to Facebook, pointing to an unseen person in the office. Neither video includes the man mentioning Reboyras.
“He said, ‘I’m a precinct captain, I’m going to do everything I can to get Ariel Reboyras re-elected… his daughter’s terrible, I’m going to make sure I knock on every door,’” Gutierrez said, recounting his staffers’ account of the incident.
The man in the video asked a staffer, “What’s your education level? Where have you been? What have you accomplished? I’m an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. I fought in f—— Iraq. What did you do? What did you f—— do for your country? Yeah, you’re a piece of s—.”
Reboyras denied any involvement in the incident, telling The Daily Line he does not know the man shown in the video.
“It’s crazy,” Reboyras said. “I feel terrible. I have nothing to do with it, I don’t know who the guy is, I would never condone that. I’ve been interviewed by five people already, including the cops.”
“It’s not my style, that’s not what I do,” Reboyras added.
Reboyras declined to say whether he believed the attack was a Chicago-style setup designed to make him look bad.
“I won’t even go there,” Reboyras said. “ I just, you know, I just wanted to say that I don’t know the individual. I don’t know anything about setups. I have nothing to do with it, it’s too bad, life goes on.”
The congressman said he would not put his staff through such a traumatic experience on purpose.
“I love my staff, I respect my staff… look,” Gutierrez said. “As they say, you just can’t make this stuff up. CPD is investigating. I look forward to the moment of his arrest and trial. I expect that that’s going to happen. You should not be able to walk into an office and intimidate and assault workers for political reasons… for any reason.”
“Why would we need to do it when we’re up 12, 13 points?” he asked.
The same day as the attack, Gutierrez’ aldermanic campaign released a poll showing she holds a 12 percent lead over Reboyras “and her path to victory is extremely clear. She pulls further into the lead in a two-way race… Gutiérrez leads Reboyras handily (41% Gutiérrez / 29% Reboyras / 5% Edgar Esparza / 26% undecided), a lead that expands (44% Gutiérrez / 29% Reboyras) in a two-way race.”
The poll of 300 likely mayoral election voters in the ward was conducted via cell phone and landline from Dec. 6-12 by Brian Stryker of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. It has an expected margin of sampling error at the 95 percent confidence level of plus or minus 5.7 percent.
The poll also suggests Gutierrez’ ties to her father and Garcia are helping her campaign.
Both are popular in the ward — Gutierrez has a 58 percent favorable rating and Garcia has a 62 percent popular rating, according to the poll.
“When people hear that she is the congressman’s daughter she gets a boost — 45 percent of people say this would make them more likely to vote for her compared to only 29 percent who say it would make them less likely,” the polling brief reads.
“We’ve been knocking doors for months, and in person, just like in this poll, voters have told us that they are excited about the prospect of ending rubber stamp rule and electing new, progressive leadership in the 30th Ward,” Gutierrez said in a statement.
“The polls showed Hillary [Clinton] ahead too,” Reboyras said, referring to the former Democratic candidate for president.
Reboyras said he would not change course from previous elections.
“No, basically same thing I’ve told them for years,” Reboyras said. “I’m your alderman, I respectfully ask for their support.”
Reboyras said he also has a poll in the field but has not received the results back.