Dueling endorsements in Chicago mayoral race

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Hispanic vote will be key in the race for Chicago mayor and on Friday, there were dueling endorsements for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cmsr. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Garcia could make history as Chicago's first Latino mayor, but the Hispanic voting block is far from monolithic. Both men enjoy support from different Latino factions.

On Friday night, Garcia was a featured speaker at a gala honoring Latino professionals.

"Keep pushing the door further. Keep bringing people in, and let's continue to strive for parity," Garcia said.

Mayor Emanuel offered a videotaped message, saying: "On behalf of a grateful city, thank you and congratulations."

The battle for Hispanic votes is kicking into high gear. A coalition of civic and political leaders calling itself "Latinos for Rahm" endorsed the mayor's re-election bid.

"I would not be here if I did not believe that this mayor would get things done for my constituents and for all of the city," 12th Ward Ald. George Cardenas said.

"I congratulate Commissioner Chuy Garcia. He had a tremendous showing. It made me proud. But I don't think it is his time right now," 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis said.

Hours later, supporters of Garcia held their own news conference. It appeared hastily arranged, with some of the announced speakers stuck in traffic and unable to attend.

"I know Chuy. Chuy's a neighborhood guy. Jesus Garcia has stood up for our neighborhoods, for our city," 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz said.

Garcia could make history as Chicago's first Latino mayor, but history alone may not unify the Hispanic vote.

"The more conservative end of the Latino community have long-time supporters of Rahm Emanuel, of Mayor Daley," ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington said. "Chuy Garcia represents the more progressive left end, and there's no guarantee that he's going to be able to pull both ends together."

Mayor Emanuel and Cmsr. Garcia agreed Friday to three televised debates before the April 7 runoff. There were five debates ahead of the February election.

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