CHICAGO (CBS) — When Illinois Democrats drew up new congressional maps for Illinois after the 2020 Census, they redrew the 3rd District to create the state’s second Hispanic-majority district, to capitalize on Chicago’s growing Latino population.
With current 3rd District Congresswoman Marie Newman opting to challenge 6th District incumbent Sean Casten instead of running for re-election in the new heavily Latino 3rd District, it’s an open race, with four Democrats vying for the seat.
Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), Illinois State Rep. Delia Ramirez, professor Iymen Chehade, and businessman Juan Enrique Aguirre.
Although it’s an open race, Villegas and Ramirez quickly emerged as the frontrunners, both far outraising their rivals.
Villegas, who was once Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s floor leader, is leading the candidates in fundraising, having brought in nearly $950,000 so far.
A Marine veteran who served during Operation Desert Shield, has represented the 36th Ward on the Northwest Side since 2015, has touted his progressive credentials, including his push for a universal basic income pilot program in Chicago. While Lightfoot opposed his idea when he first proposed it, she later included a similar plan as part of her 2022 budget. It will send $500 monthly checks to 5,000 low-income Chicago families for the next year.
He is also supported by former Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who is known for his decades of work on immigration reform.
Ramirez, meantime, raised nearly $620,000 for her campaign, and also has identified as a progressive, hailing her sponsorship of legislation to create a fully elected school board in Chicago by 2026, and her work with state lawmakers to expand Medicaid coverage to seniors regardless of their immigration status.
Now in her second term representing the 4th House District in Illinois, she represents a district that stretches across parts of the Hermosa, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, and Ukrainian Village neighborhoods, overlapping with Villegas’ 36th Ward for a few blocks.
A member of the House leadership team and Progressive Caucus, Ramirez is also a Humboldt Park native.
She also has the backing of the Chicago Teachers Union and several progressive politicians, including Garcia and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Chehade is a professor at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, focusing largely on the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He raised about $90,000 for his campaign.
Meantime, Chehade finds himself in the middle of an ethics controversy surrounding Newman as she runs against Casten in the 6th District. Chehade sued Newman last year, claiming she reneged on a promise to hire him as her chief foreign policy advisor if he agreed not to run against her in 2020.
The lawsuit was later settled, although terms of the settlement have not been made public. Meantime, the House Ethics Committee has launched an investigation, after the independent Office of Congressional Ethics found "substantial reason to believe" Newman offered Chehade a government job so he wouldn’t run against her.
Aguirre, a part-time owner of an Illinois marijuana dispensary license, raised only about $11,000 for his campaign.
The winner in the Democratic race in the 3rd District will go on to face Republican Justin Burau, who was unopposed in the GOP primary.
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June 28, 2022 at 05:51PM