Petitions out for Rep. Garcia mayoral run; lawmaker still mulling Chicago City Hall bid

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Jesus “Chuy” Garcia at a campaign event in 2018.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

While Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., continues to ponder a 2023 run for Chicago mayor, his allies, with his knowledge, on Saturday started circulating mayoral nominating petitions on his behalf.

Over at readyforchuy.com, the virtual headquarters for the petition drive, a banner greets visitors and asks them to “Help us get Chuy Garcia on the ballot for Mayor of Chicago.”

The site provides a link so supporters can download and print the petition form.

Clem Balanoff, Garcia’s political director for his 2015 City Hall bid, told the Sun-Times on Saturday Garcia “absolutely” knows that petitions are being circulated on his behalf.

“He knows that we are doing it and he has not discouraged it,” Balanoff said. “We feel very strongly he will be in the race.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is seeking a second term and multiple rivals have already declared their mayoral bids while others, including Garcia, are mulling a run.

One political matter the Garcia team is dealing with has to do with the politically potent Chicago Teachers Union — an important natural ally in most cases, but not this one, at least for now.

The CTU has already endorsed one of its employees for mayor: Brandon Johnson, a paid CTU organizer and a Cook County Board member, is exploring a mayoral run.

Candidates for Chicago mayor, city clerk and treasurer need a minimum of 12,500 valid signatures to get on the ballot. Petitions must be filed by Nov. 28.

Balanoff said the petition drive was launched now because it’s warm out and “we’d rather be collecting signatures in 70 degree weather like it is right now and in the next few days” rather than in chilly November.

The nonpartisan city election is Feb. 28, 2023 with a runoff on April 4 if no one wins a majority. Garcia lost to then Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the 2015 runoff.

Garcia, on the November ballot seeking a third term, faces weak GOP opposition in the safe Democratic 4th congressional district. He can run for mayor in 2023 without giving up his seat in Congress.

In September, Garcia, calling Lightfoot vulnerable, told reporters the odds of his running in the 2023 City Hall contest were 50-50.

Garcia told the Sun-Times last month he is aiming to decide by mid-October, with his odds changing day by day. Now it seems more likely Garcia will wait until after he wins, as expected, re-election on Nov. 8. He’ll also know before deciding to run for Chicago mayor if the Democrats kept the House in the mid-term elections.

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October 22, 2022 at 05:55PM

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