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Is Jesus ‘Chuy’ García Running For Mayor? All Signs Point To Yes

The congressman, who pushed former Mayor Rahm Emanuel to a runoff in 2015, could pose a serious threat to Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Rep. Jesus “Chuy” García speaks during a press conference at City Hall where he endorsed a handful of progressive Latino candidates on Sept. 7, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García could announce a mayoral run as soon as this week, reports say. 

García is expected to announce his mayoral campaign Thursday, which would be the 40-year anniversary of former Mayor Harold Washington’s campaign announcement, according to NBC reporter Mary Ann Ahern.  

García told reporters in September he was considering running for mayor but he said he was hesitant to give up his role as a congressman. He’s campaigning to retain his seat in Tuesday’s election. 

García told the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman last week he would only run for mayor if Democrats lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“In all seriousness, I am conflicted because of the responsibility that I have to help save and protect our democracy and our republic,” García said in September. “The threat against our democracy remains so violent. We’ve been hanging by a thread for the past year now or so. So I’m conflicted.”

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Rep. Jesus “Chuy” García speaks during a press conference at City Hall where he endorsed a handful of progressive Latino candidates on Sept. 7, 2022.

If García were to run for mayor, he could pose a serious threat to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection due to his name recognition and decades of political experience. 

In 2015, García ran against former Mayor Rahm Emanuel with an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders and became the first candidate to push a sitting mayor into a runoff. He lost the election with 44.5 percent of the vote to Emanuel’s 55.5 percent. 

García didn’t run for mayor again in 2019 and endorsed Lightfoot, despite encouragement from Rep. Luis Gutiérrez and others.  

The Latino Leadership Council has been “working hard behind the scenes to encourage” García to run for mayor, spokesperson Alejandra Moran said. 

“Chicago needs a uniter,” Moran said. “He’s tested, qualified and ready to move Chicago forward. We’re excited at the prospect of creating history by helping elect the first Latino Mayor in Chicago’s history.” 

Efforts to raise money for García unannounced campaign are underway, according to the Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.

García was born in Mexico and moved to the United States in 1965, where he lived with his family in Little Village. García has advocated for Latino Americans, pushed for immigration reforms and pushed for other progressive policies throughout his life. 

García served as the 22nd Ward’s alderman from 1986-1993 and was an ally of Washington, who was the mayor then. He served in the Illinois Senate from 1993-1999. 

When García wasn’t in office, he led the Little Village Community Development Corporation, now known as Enlace. The group remains active and is focused on empowering Little Village residents “to confront systemic inequities and barriers to economic and social access,” according to its website. 

García served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners 2011-2018. In 2019, he was elected to represent parts of Chicago and the suburbs in Illinois’ 4th District in the House of Representatives.

The effort to deny Lightfoot a second term is already crowded and involves three sitting City Council members.

Challengers in the field include Alds. Raymond Lopez (15th)Roderick Sawyer (6th) and Sophia King (4th). Candidates also include Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnsonformer Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallasstate Rep. Kam Buckner, businessman Willie Wilson and activist Ja’Mal Green.

Longtime Lightfoot ally Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), who is stepping down from City Council next yearalso is rumored as a potential challenger but has not announced a bid.

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