Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia told the Chicago Sun-Times Thursday that he’s considering another run for Chicago mayor in 2019.
In 2015, Garcia forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel into Chicago’s first-ever mayoral run-off but lost by 73,609 votes.
During the Sun-Times interview, Garcia criticized Emanuel's leadership. The Democrat faulted the mayor for the city's uptick in homicides and shootings, claiming the mayor relied too heavily on overtime to mask a shortage in manpower.
After Garcia suggested that Emanuel honor a 2011 promise to hire 1,000 new officers, the mayor called the idea unaffordable, according to the report.
“He said the proposal was fairy dust,” Garcia told the Sun-Times. “Two years later, he says we’re gonna do it. Why did it take so long? Because it was something that I put forth? It really wasn’t because he had said he would do it four years prior to the last election. It’s now been six years.”
Garcia claimed the delay “helped exacerbate” the city’s violent crime crisis.
The Democrat also accused Emanuel of switching stances on the issue of taxes to solve the city’s $30 billion pension crisis.
In the lead-up to the 2015 runoff, Emanuel predicted that Garcia would rely on a massive property tax hike to make good on a variety of campaign promises. Following the election, Emanuel pushed through 1.2 billion in tax increases, the Sun-Times reports.
“It’s the honesty part that hasn’t been there,” Garcia said. “He denied that he would do that. He suggested that I would raise taxes. He ran paid commercials to that effect. His evidence was the modest property tax increase I had voted for when Harold Washington was mayor that paled in comparison to the record property tax increase and all of the other tax increases that have now hit historic levels.”
Additionally, Garcia told the Sun-Times that he plans to make Emanuel’s handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting a campaign issue if he plan to run in 2019. McDonald was shot and killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in October of 2014. A judge ordered the city to release dash-cam video of the incident in November of 2015.
Emanuel came under fire for keeping the McDonald video under wraps for over a year and waiting until one week after the 2015 runoff to authorize a $5 million settlement to McDonald’s family.
“Many people think there was a cover-up,” Garcia told the Sun-Times. “Many people think that it was concealed, that it was quashed because of the potential impact on the election. What really clouds things is the payment of $5 million. They didn’t want the family to raise the issue.”
He claimed the video “would have had profound implications in terms of the election.”
Should he decide to run in 2019, Garcia plans to raise $10 million to $20 million to unseat Emanuel. In 2015, the mayor raised more than $20 million, while Garcia pulled in less than $6 million, the Sun-Times reports.
Garcia reportedly plans to make a decision on his prospective bid by early summer.