In Northwest Side aldermanic race, Mayor Rahm Emanuel vows: ‘No friend gets left on the field’

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s days at City Hall are numbered, but that didn’t stop him from hitting the campaign trail recently to give a rousing defense of a key City Council ally who’s in the election fight of his life against a congressman’s daughter.

Standing onstage at a fundraiser for 30th Ward Ald. Ariel Reboyras earlier this month at an Avondale bar, Emanuel jabbed his finger into a podium as he tried to fire up the veteran alderman’s backers. Reboyras is facing a challenge in next year’s municipal elections from Jessica Gutierrez, the daughter of U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who’s leaving Congress when his term ends next year.

“You got a great alderman. It’s up to you to make sure your neighbors know how good he is,” Emanuel said, his voice rising.

Emanuel then pointed to a tangible success he said the alderman has secured for the ward.

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios — who lost the Democratic primary election this year in his re-election bid — also has seen his influence wane considerably in recent years in that part of the city.

Ray Suarez spent 24 years as 31st Ward alderman with Berrios behind him, but lost in 2015 to former television reporter Milly Santiago, who had the support of Luis Gutierrez and others. They also backed Gilbert Villegas, who took down a Berrios-endorsed candidate in the 36th Ward.

If Jessica Gutierrez is elected alderman, it would increase Luis Gutierrez’s influence on the Northwest Side as he leaves Congress after 13 terms. And it would create the latest in a long line of multigenerational Cook County political families.

Reboyras, meanwhile, is making the case to voters that he’s looking ahead to what he hopes will be another fruitful partnership with the next occupant of the mayor’s office.

“As much as I am loyal to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, I will be as loyal to the next mayor, if, of course, they work with us. And in most cases they will,” he said. “And whether or not my opponents see me as a rubber stamp, a ‘yes’ voter every time, there’s a reason for that. And if I can receive more things for my community, then I’m going to vote with the mayor if it’s the right thing to do for the entire city of Chicago.”

Gutierrez reported she had about $23,000 on hand in her campaign committee at the end of June, and has reported raising about $16,400 more since then in contributions of at least $1,000 each, according to the state Board of Elections. Reboyras had about $42,000 in his fund at the end of June, and has reported raising about $51,000 since then, according to the election board.

Elvis Guzman and Edgar “Edek” Esparza also have announced they will run for 30th Ward alderman.

As for Emanuel, who leaves office in May, he said he has no intention of turning his back on Reboyras or any aldermen who have been in his corner for the past eight years: “Here’s my rule, Rahm Emanuel, former head caucus chair: No friend gets left on the field.”

jebyrne@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @_johnbyrne

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September 29, 2018 at 05:27AM

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