Chicago Alderman Ray Lopez to challenge US Rep. Jesús 'Chuy' García for House seat

Craig Wall Image
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Alderman Lopez to challenge US Rep. Garcia for Congressional seat
A Chicago alderman is jumping into a race for Congress.

BERWYN, Ill. (WLS) -- Two former mayoral rivals will now be squaring off in a race for Congress.

Chicago Alderman Ray Lopez, of the 15th Ward, announced Tuesday that he is running to unseat U.S. Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García, D-Chicago, in the 4th Congressional District.

Immigration and political connections are shaping up to be big issues in this race.

Lopez said it was what was happening, or not happening, with the immigration crisis at the border and in Chicago that convinced him he needed to run for Congress to try and make a difference.

García is now bracing for a fight to keep his seat.

Lopez is once again setting his sights on higher office, motivated by the migrant crisis and what he called the failures in Washington D.C. in dealing with it.

"We need representatives in Congress willing to confront these challenges and more directly and decisively," Lopez said Tuesday during his campaign announcement.

And during a one-on-one interview, Lopez called out García for not doing enough to make a difference.

RELATED: Chicagoans work to provide food, clothing for migrants as politicians point fingers over crisis

"I can't blame him for not making it happen, but I can blame him for not trying, and that's what you need to do. You need to go into this job with the intention of making progress, not just saying, 'it's gridlock, I can't do anything, it's too partisan,'" Lopez said.

Lopez also claimed García is far too liberal for his district.

"I think the district has changed. Obviously after the 2020 remap, the politics of the district has changed. They're looking for a more moderate-centrist type of leader, which Chuy clearly is not. He's pivoted to the left and to the extreme left for his politics," Lopez said.

But García disagrees.

"I've won two elections overwhelmingly already in the newly constructed Fourth Congressional District. So I feel like I'm in touch with people all over the district," he said.

In what could be an indicator of where this campaign might be headed, García called out Lopez for his association with former Alderman Ed Burke. Burke's awaiting a federal corruption trial next month.

Lopez just moved into Burke's old office building.

"Well, there seems to be a continuation of a certain legacy, or at least the perception of the same in Chicago," García said.

Lopez responded by pointing to García's past connections with former House Speaker Mike Madigan, who's facing his own corruption trial next year.

"For anyone to be throwing barbs about scandal and legacy in politics, it's not Chuy García," he said. "I'm hopeful that we can have a race that's based on issues, but clearly my opponent, the incumbent, is already trying to muddy the waters because that's all they know how to do."

Lopez was the first candidate to announce he was challenging then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot last year, and the first to drop out.

In this Congressional race, Lopez said he's in it until the end, but García said he's not worried about this challenge.

García has held the seat since 2019.