Chuy Garcia

Progressive Congressman Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D-Ill.) on Monday filed nearly 50,000 nominating petitions for mayor of Chicago. (Photo: Chuy Garcia/Facebook)

Citing Need for 'New, Inclusive Leadership,' Chuy Garcia Files for Chicago Mayoral Race

"We have an opportunity to elect a trusted and experienced leader with a history of building coalitions and a vision for a brighter future for all Chicagoans," said the Democratic congressman.

Progressive Congressman Jesus "Chuy" Garcia on Monday filed his nominating petitions for mayor of Chicago, submitting signatures from nearly 50,000 residents of Illinois' biggest city.

"I'm proud to officially start our journey towards a safer, more prosperous Chicago for all."

Garcia, a Democrat in his second term representing Illinois' 4th Congressional District, announced his second mayoral run earlier this month. In 2015, he forced a runoff with former Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is seeking another term, and 6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer, the son of former Mayor Eugene Sawyer, also submitted signatures on Monday--meaning there are officially nine contenders.

"Our city is at a crossroads," Garcia said in a statement. "We have an opportunity to elect a trusted and experienced leader with a history of building coalitions and a vision for a brighter future for all Chicagoans. We deserve safe communities, equitable schools, affordable housing, as well as opportunities for economic and environmental justice--and that requires new, inclusive leadership that reflects the city of Chicago."

"That's why today, with the support of Chicagoans from every corner of our city, I'm proud to officially start our journey towards a safer, more prosperous Chicago for all," he added. "We have seen an incredible outpouring of support and we are hitting the ground running. We are ready to win this campaign."

According to the Chicago Tribune:

At Garcia's side Monday evening was labor fixture Clem Balanoff. In the crowd behind him were Ald. Mike Rodriguez, who holds Garcia's old 22nd Ward seat on the City Council, and Commissioner Alma Anaya, who replaced Garcia on the Cook County Board.

"This is a demonstration of the type of power and grassroots campaign that I will engage in," Garcia said, noting he had only officially been in the race for three weeks and had already raised substantial funds. "We plan to deliver a sharp message to Chicagoans about how we get Chicago back on track, make it work for everyone, make Chicago a safe city, a clean city, a prosperous city that ensures that everyone has the ability to achieve their full potential."

Though he did not name Lightfoot, Garcia said Chicagoans were ready for a change, and that he would focus on being a "good listener," a "collaborator," and "inclusive."

Asked if he could galvanize progressive voters, Garcia said his 40 years of public service were a "testament" to his values. "I don't change with the seasons, that is the record I will share and take to the people of Chicago. ...The filing today demonstrates that in a very short amount of time, we connected with Chicagoans all over this city. And that's what will lead us to victory."

Filing at the end of the day means Garcia could have a potential advantage--his name appearing at the bottom of the list on the ballot.

Lightfoot, meanwhile, filed more than 40,000 signatures Monday morning. Addressing her decision not to wait until later, the mayor told the Chicago Sun-Times that "it's not about the last spot, the positioning on the ballot, as if you are an unknown and people don't know you. They know who I am."

"And our voters are going to find us," she added. "So we wanted to get this done this morning, get our folks geared up and ready for the next leg of the journey. And I've actually got a city to run as well, so getting back to the business of the people."

While Lightfoot's 2019 runoff victory was met with cautious optimism, the Democrat--the first Black and openly gay woman to lead the city--has faced criticism throughout her first term, including from the powerful Chicago Teachers Union.

The other mayoral candidates are state Rep. Kam Buckner (D-26), activist Ja'Mal Green, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, 4th Ward Ald. Sophia King, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, and businessman Willie Wilson.

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