Gutierrez, who said several weeks ago he was circulating petitions, announced his non-candidacy Thursday afternoon at the Latino student center at U.I.C.
The 56-year-old congressman, recognized as the national leader in the movement for the reform of federal immigration laws, says he would not abandon what he called his vocation to begin a campaign for mayor.
"We're not going to win simply because of Chicago. We have to have a moment that stretches across this nation...and I'm committed to making that movement a movement that will bring about comprehensive immigration reform," said rep. Luis Gutierrez (D).
Hours earlier, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan emphatically denied she was considering running for mayor.
"It is not my intention to run for mayor. If it was, I would share that with you. I enjoy very much serving you as attorney general," said Madigan.
Gutierrez is a nine-term member of Congress who represents the Fourth District, which is mostly within the city limits. He has criticized potential mayoral candidate former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for not moving the Obama administration quickly enough toward immigration reform. Emanuel downplayed the past disagreements.
"I am a child of immigrants. I'm a grandchild of immigrants and we work together on immigration reform," said Emanuel.
Declared Latino candidates for mayor include city clerk Miguel del Valle and city colleges president Gery Chico.
Gutierrez says he will talk to all the candidates before deciding which one, if any, to endorse and says ethnicity should not be a factor in the selection process.
"If you're truly going to be respectful to an electoral process, color, ethnicity and nationality should have nothing to do with it," said Gutierrez.
The congressman will leave Chicago shortly on a national campaign tour to help Democrats around the country rally the Latino vote. While he is not a candidate, he still could be a kingmaker. Gutierrez arguably has the biggest following in the Latino community.