U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia announces run for Chicago mayor

U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia launched his campaign Thursday to become Chicago's next mayor.

The 66-year-old made his announcement on the 40th anniversary of the day Harold Washington began his history-making run for the same office.

Garcia joins a crowded field of candidates aiming for the city's highest office including Mayor Lori Lightfoot who is pursuing her second term.

"People are still living paycheck to paycheck. Many live in fear of losing their homes of losing their livelihood, of losing their loved ones. We need and deserve a safer, kinder and more prosperous Chicago for all," Garcia said in his campaign video.

Garcia — a longtime local politician and community organizer — represents the state’s 4th district at the federal level.

In the 2015 elections, Garcia forced then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff.

A source told FOX 32 last week the results of a new voter opinion survey have Garcia in favorable standing in a potential runoff against Lightfoot

The poll was conducted by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling.  It was first reported by Fran Spielman in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The survey found that if the first round election set for Feb., 28, 2023, were held now, Lightfoot would get 22-percent, Garcia 14-percent, Wilson 12-percent and Paul Vallas eight-percent.

In a hypothetical second round runoff election now scheduled for April 4, 2023, the survey shows Garcia with 43-percent, Lightfoot at 34-percent, and 23-percent undecided.

The poll had more bad news for Lightfoot: 56-percent of Chicago voters have a somewhat or very unfavorable view of the first-term incumbent. About 38-percent have somewhat or very favorable view of her.


Congressman Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D, IL-04) speaks after US First Lady Jill Biden visited the National Museum of Mexican Art to view an exhibit created in remembrance of Covid-19 victims in Chicago, Illinois on October 12, 2021. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZ

The survey is accurate to within plus or minus four percentage points.

Garcia’s predominant complaint against Lightfoot is her combativeness and her inability to get along with people.

Lightfoot’s "style of governing … has been confrontational. She’s caused unnecessary conflict. She has called people out in public instead of having difficult conversations in her office or behind the scenes, where all of these things are not exposed. People are tired of the conflict and the bickering and the fighting that they think is representative of her style of government," Garcia told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Instead of that combative, unnecessary conflict that she causes, we need someone who is going to be a collaborator. … I’ve had a lot of empathy for her during the pandemic because no one could have predicted how tough it would be. However, as I look at Chicago today, it’s very clear that new leadership is necessary."

One potential complication for Garcia from Little Village: the Chicago Teachers Union and some other groups that backed Garcia against Emanuel eight years ago have already endorsed other candidates for mayor.  

In September, Garcia spoke about why he was considering running.

"In all seriousness, I am conflicted because of the responsibility that I have to help save and protect our democracy and our republic," Garcia said. "The threat against our democracy remains so violent. We’ve been hanging by a thread for the past year now or so. So I’m conflicted."

Garcia told the Sun-Times he would love to unite the progressive movement he has championed for a lifetime — but is prepared to go it alone if it’s too late for that in the first round of balloting. He’s confident he can force Lightfoot into a run-off, and the progressive family will reunite behind him then.

"Folks know me. … They know what I’ve done. I know we will eventually get their support. I’m the only guy left from the Harold Washington coalition. … No one in Chicago politics today has been involved in fighting the old corrupt and racist and sexist Chicago Machine [longer] than myself," the 66-year-old Garcia said.

"I’m certain our movement will come together. We have a shared set of values. … I’m not concerned about the future," he added.

The deadline for filing petitions signed by at least 12,500 registered Chicago voters is Nov. 28 — and candidates typically submit three times that to avoid petition challenges.

Garcia will be holding an 11 a.m. news conference where he is expected to lay out the pillars of his campaign.

Other mayoral candidates include State Rep. Kam Buckner, CPD veteran Frederick Collins, community activist Ja'Mal Green, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, Ald. Sophia King, Ald. Raymond Lopez, Ald. Roderick Sawyer, former CPS CEO Paul Vallas and businessman Willie Wilson.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.