U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez is "entertaining the idea of a presidential run," a source close to the rep. told NBC News Wednesday, one day after the congressman announced he would not seek re-election.
A spokesperson for Gutierrez confirmed he would not rule out a potential presidential run in 2020.
“He is trying to figure out how do you put pressure on the democrats and the political world in general to keep the agenda items he really cares about moving forward – especially regarding everyone who is under attack by Donald Trump," the source told NBC News.
Gutierrez announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election, confirming numerous reports that he would be leaving Congress at the end of his term. But the outspoken congressman made clear he is not retiring.
Gutierrez instead threw his support behind Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who he called a "champion" and "true progressive."
"I would not have made this decision unless there was somebody who could step up and give new life to the agenda in Washington DC, who could be a champion here in Chicago but on a national level too," Gutierrez said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "I want to make absolutely clear I'd be a candidate for re-election in the 4th Congressional District if Jesus Garcia had not agreed to run."
Gutierrez indicated he plans to travel the country with his family "creating a new, fierce framework for immigrant rights across this country as we work to 2020 and the presidential election."
"I also want to be very clear, a crystal announcement," he said. "Very clear on what I'm not announcing. I'm going to leave Congress at the end of my term, but I am not retiring. I am not giving up on the fight."
Gutierrez also noted that he hopes to help rebuild Puerto Rico, an effort he has been vocal about in the months since a devastating hurricane tore through the island.
"I love Puerto Rico and she’s in a lot of pain," he said, tears welling up in his eyes. "And there’s a lot of people that have turned their backs on them and she needs to be rebuilt. And I cannot be here in the 4th Congressional District and rebuilding the home of my mom and my dad, where my wife was born. A place that I love so much. I’m going to work really hard until she’s completely rebuilt to 21st century standards. But I can’t do them both. I can’t organize the framework across this country for 2020 and I can’t be there."
Before his congressional career, Gutierrez served as the 26th ward alderman and was a close adviser to Mayor Harold Washington. He has been a leading voice for immigration reform as well as hurricane relief for Puerto Rico.