Less than 48 hours after he was re-elected to a third term, 4th District Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago) announced Nov. 10 that he is entering the race to be the mayor of Chicago.
On Nov. 8, Garcia easily defeated Republican James Falakos, capturing 67.8 percent of the vote in the 4th District, which includes Riverside and Brookfield. Two days later, the veteran progressive said he was coming home to serve the city that he has lived in since immigrating from Mexico.
“I’ve had many titles in my life: community organizer, county commissioner, alderman, state senator and now congressman, but the most important title to me is Chicagoan,” said Garcia speaking from a rooftop on Navy Pier on a warm and sunny day. “Little Village, on the Southwest Side, has been my home for the past 53 years.”
Garcia joins a crowded field of eight challengers who have already announced they are running against incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
He is the most experienced of the challengers and has the biggest profile. In 2015, Garcia ran for mayor and lost to Rahm Emmanuel in a runoff, winning nearly 44 percent of the vote.
In 2015, Garcia had the support of the Chicago Teachers Union, but this time around the CTU is backing Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who works for the union, for mayor.
Garcia has been involved in Chicago politics for all of his adult life. He was a strong supporter of Harold Washington when Washington was elected Chicago’s first Black mayor in 1983. Garcia timed his mayoral announcement to be 40 years to the day after Washington announced in 1982. Like Garcia, Washington was a congressman when he ran for mayor.
Lightfoot’s campaign quicky struck back at Garcia.
“While Mayor Lightfoot is doing the hard work of leading our city through challenging times, career politician Congressman Garcia is prioritizing his own ambitions,” Lightfoot spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said in a statement. “Now, a mere 36 hours after voters re-elected him to Congress, and as Republicans prepare to use their new slim majority to strip away our rights, Mr. Garcia is abandoning ship and going after a fellow progressive Democrat. That’s not the tough, principled leadership our city needs.”
If Garcia is elected mayor next year, a special election will be held to fill his seat in Congress.