CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2 advised Tuesday to anticipate U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia’s run for mayor in the city of Chicago this week.
Garcia (D-Illinois) easily won reelection to Congress Tuesday night. But sources confirm he will announce another challenge on Thursday – a plan to unseat Mayor Lori Lightfoot next winter.
As CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman reported, Garcia is expected to make the announcement at 11 a.m. Thursday at Navy Pier. Thursday also marks the 40th anniversary of the date that Harold Washington – also a U.S. Congressman at who had just been reelected the time – announced his run in the 1983 race for mayor of Chicago.
Garcia gave Mayor Rahm Emanuel a run for his money in the 2015 mayoral race – forcing a runoff that Emanuel ultimately won 56 percent to 44 percent.. And now as he puts his name in the ring as a recognizable name in Chicago, what does this mean for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign?
On Tuesday might, Garcia gave a speech at his Little Village campaign party headquarters calling on his supporters to fight for struggling and marginalized and people.
"I will now be serving my third term in Congress," Garcia said Tuesday night.
But now, less than 24 hours later, he is set to announce he is gearing up for a mayoral run.
"Chicago is at a real crossroads," Garcia told CBS 2’s Lauren Victory Tuesday night. "It needs steady leadership."
With Garcia’s announcement expected Thursday, there will be 11 candidates declaring a run – and it is shaping up to be a divided race.
"It’s going to be very difficult for any candidate to win an outright majority," said North Central College political science professor Stephen Caliendo. "Now, you have two really strong candidates, as well as others that have good name recognition that are going to probably split that vote."
Caliendo said if Garcia wins the mayor race, his congressional seat will sit vacant until a special election can be held. But Caliendo says it is a safe bet for Garcia, who will keep his spot in the House if he loses in the mayoral race.
"Typically, when incumbent members of Congress run for other offices, they don’t relinquish their seat," Caliendo said.
To run for mayor, political experts tell us you need 12,500 legitimate signatures, about $5 million in the bank, and a political army at the ready. Garcia does not have that yet.
So does Garcia has what it takes to make it into a mayoral runoff this late in the game?
"I would expect so," Caliendo said, "and I don’t think he would bother with it if he didn’t think he did."
Caliendo said Garcia has likely been laying the groundwork financially and with influential groups for some time to secure voter blocs, but only announcing after his House seat was secure. That means Mayor Lightfoot may now have to funnel more cash into her campaign leading up to February.
"The people that really strongly support Mayor Lightfoot will be ready to step up and donate more if they feel that there is more of a threat," Caliendo said.
Garcia was a Chicago alderman from 1986 until 1993, and was a key ally of Washington’s during the infamous "Council Wars," when former Ald. Edward Vrdolyak led a bloc of mostly white aldermen to consistently thwart the agenda of the city’s first Black mayor, and control the City Council.
In 1992, Garcia was elected to the Illinois State Senate, where he served until 1999, after losing the 1998 Democratic primary to Antonio Munoz.
In 2011, Garcia was elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners, where continued to serve until 2018, when he was elected to Congress.
The field for mayor includes at least 10 other candidates – including Lightfoot, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, Ald. Sophia King (4th), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), businessman Willie Wilson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, Illinois State Rep. Kam Buckner, community activist Ja’Mal Green, and Chicago police officer Frederick Collins.
For one important note, other political analysts tell us this is a race with a strong Latino candidate and a strong Black candidate – and Garcia could have a lock on the Latino vote.
But with such a crowded race filled with big names, other big voting blocs could be split among the candidates.
We did reach out to the Mayor’s office for comment about Garcia’s name in the ring, but we have not heard back.
We will have full coverage of Garcia’s mayoral announcement on Thursday.
Region: Chicago,Politics,City: Chicago
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November 9, 2022 at 11:15PM