Riversiders file for GOP primary in 4th District

One candidate says he already plans to drop out

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By Bob Skolnik

Contributing Reporter

Two Riverside residents have filed to run for Congress, but it appears that only one will stay in the race.

Jay Reyes and Mark Lorch both submitted petitions to run in the Republican primary for the 4th Congressional District, where the retirement of Luis Gutierrez has touched off a flurry of petition filings. 

Two little known Chicagoans, Ann Melichar and Ruben Sanchez Jr., also have filed to run in the Republican primary in the 4th District.

Reyes, a lawyer who works for the state of Illinois, is a member of the Triton College board of trustees, will be dropping out of the race. He told the Landmark he filed to run for Congress just to make sure the Republicans had a respectable candidate in the race in the overwhelmingly Democratic district that includes most of Riverside and the much of Brookfield.

Reyes said he plans to formally withdraw from the race soon.

Lorch, 36, has lived in Riverside for about seven years and is making his first run for public office.

"I am running to represent the 4th District because I can no longer sit on the sidelines and simply be witness to the actions of our current president and members of Congress," Lorch said in an email to the Landmark. "The path our country appears to be on is unacceptable to me."

In a brief telephone interview, Lorch declined to go into much detail about his political views.

"I'm not really one for labels," said Lorch, who is pretty much unknown in local political circles. "I can tell you what I'm not. I'm certainly not a right-wing conservative if that helps."

Lorch works for the financial firm Duff and Phelps, where he advises companies and shareholders on business valuation and mergers and acquisitions. He is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Late on Dec. 11, Riverside resident Steve Rembis, filed objections to the petitions of Melichar and Sanchez Jr. in an attempt to knock them off the ballot. Lorch said he does not know Rembis.

In 2016, no Republican filed to run against Gutierrez, who abruptly announced last month that he would not seek re-election. The leading candidate seems to be Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, whom Gutierrez has endorsed. 

Garcia, 61, ran for mayor of Chicago in 2015 and has long been active in progressive politics in Chicago.

He is being challenged by several younger Hispanic politicians, including Chicago aldermen Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Proco "Joe" Moreno and Raymond Lopez. 

Also running for the Democratic nomination is Sol Flores, the executive director of La Casa Norte, Logan Square non-profit that serves youth and families facing homelessness. 

Another woman in the Democratic race is Neli Vasquez-Roland, a resident of the Near North Side of Chicago, who is the cofounder and president of A Safe Haven Foundation, an organization which helps people struggling with homelessness and substance abuse.

An objection to the petitions of Vasquez-Roland's petitions has been filed.

Rounding out the Democratic field is Chicago police Sgt. Richard Gonzalez who, according to published reports, is being backed by State Rep. Luis Arroyo Sr., a longtime opponent of Gutierrez.

This story has been changed to correct the spelling of Ann Melichar's last name.

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Howard Brundage  

Posted: December 12th, 2017 4:48 PM

Ann Melichar (not Milichar) may currently live in Chicago, but she grew up in Riverside, along with her late brother, the great Joe Melichar.

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