Chicago mayor election 2023: Congressman Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia says city 'needs new leadership'

Michelle Gallardo Image
Sunday, November 13, 2022
Congressman Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia says Chicago 'needs new leadership' in bid for mayor
Just two days after winning his re-election for Illinois' 4th Congressional District, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia said he is running for Chicago mayor again.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's been eight years since now-Congressman "Chuy" Garcia first he ran for mayor in Chicago.

So why now and what does he think he's learned in Congress that would help run a city with as many challenges as this one?

Garcia has gone from Durango, Mexico, to the 22nd Ward to Capitol Hill. It's been quite the journey for the now-congressman who, at 66, believes he's ready for a second run at City Hall.

"The easy thing for me would be to stay in Congress. It's been the greatest honor of my life," Garcia said.

Instead, having won his re-election bid as representative of the state's 4th Congressional District, Garcia announced just two days after Election Day that he is joining an already crowded fray and running for mayor.

RELATED: Congressman Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia announces run for mayor of Chicago

"Coming home is really to address the calling that I hear, to make a better place for its residents," he said.

He said Chicago needs new leadership, adding that he can no longer support Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who he endorsed four years ago. He cited, among other things, a lack of funding for violence prevention measures and a failure to deliver on campaign promises, such as re-opening the city's shuttered mental health clinics.

"She created all this public infighting and fights with the Chicago City Council that were on full exhibit. People are tired of that. They want something different," Garcia said.

RELATED: Critics give Lightfoot D grade as she nears 100 days in office

Despite entering the race too late to garner the support of some of the city's largest unions, Garcia said he thinks he can now overcome the main obstacles he faced during his first unsuccessful bid when he was vastly out-fundraised by an incumbent mayor who was seen as having a better grasp of the city's financial issues.

"I've been a member of the infrastructure committee. It's where the infrastructure and jobs act came out of," he said. "I've been a member of the financial services committee, dealing with the financial system across the country."

He also recognizes that tackling the city's crime rate is top of mind for most residents. And like at City Hall, Garcia believes a change of leadership at CPD is needed.

"Morale hasn't been this low in a long, long time," Garcia said. "I think new leadership. Probably Chicago-bred leadership can help change that."

While last time around Garcia struggled to attract white and Black voters, he believes this time he can do it.

"I think there is a disposition to want to unify and get Chicago on the right track, so we can grow Chicago, grow its prosperity and now after everything we've been through to ensure the benefits of a growing prosperous Chicago are invested everywhere in Chicago as well," Garcia said.

With 10 candidates and more expected to join, a run-off in the mayoral race is all but assured.

SEE MORE: Chicago mayoral candidates share their vision for city's future at North Side forum

Now, if his bid is successful, a special election would need to be held to fill Garcia's congressional seat. It's something he said he's not worried about, even with the balance of power likely to change in Congress, because he said the 4th Congressional District is seen as a safe Democratic district.

The election is set for February of next year.