County commissioner to challenge Emanuel in mayoral election

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ByEric Horng via WLS logo
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia says he will challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the February election.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new candidate has emerged in the race for mayor of Chicago, as Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia says he will challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the February election.

Garcia has been the floor leader for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and joins a growing list of candidates who want Rahm Emanuel's job.

Garcia blasted Mayor Emanuel Monday night for what he called "trickle-down" governance.

"That somehow if the well-to-do in the city and the city center, the downtown area, are doing well and thriving that somehow that prosperity will come to the neighborhoods. That hasn't been the case," he said.

Garcia's decision to begin gathering the required signatures comes exactly two weeks after health issues forced teachers' union president Karen Lewis to officially end her bid for mayor. Her exit, Garcia says, influencing his decision.

"I will probably seek her endorsement, but I also have the support of organized labor in many quarters," he said.

The 58-year-old Garcia is a former alderman and state senator and four years ago was elected Cook County Commissioner from the Southwest Side. The married father of three a staunch supporter of President Toni Preckwinkle.

Monday, the mayor downplayed Garcia's entry into the race.

"People will make their own decisions whether they will run or not. I think the most important thing is to have a city on the move, having a city faces its challenges head on," Emanuel said.

Garcia's support among Latinos could siphon votes from Mayor Emanuel, who last election avoided a run-off by garnering more than 50 percent of the votes.

"The more people that enter the race, the better the dialogue is," said fellow candidate Alderman Bob Fioretti. "I'm looking forward to the debates with the mayor. I want the mayor there."

Garcia has exactly four weeks to obtain the 12,500 signatures to run. The deadline to file that nominating paperwork is November 24.