Congressman Luis Gutierrez is reportedly mulling a presidential bid, but the race to replace him in the House is already heating up.
Six candidates are scrambling to get onto the ballot in time for the March primaries, when the race will truly begin to replace the retiring Gutierrez.
That list includes former Chicago mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia, who received Gutierrez’s endorsement when the congressman announced that he was stepping down from the legislative body this week.
Alderman Carlos Ramirez Rosa, who was dropped from Daniel Biss’ gubernatorial ticket earlier this year, has indicated that he is interested in running, along with fellow Alderman Joe Moreno.
“We’re going forward, we’re going to get the signatures,” he said. “I’m confident that we’ll get enough to get on the ballot.”
Rich Gonzalez, a Chicago police sergeant, has already filed his signatures to run for Gutierrez’s seat, saying that he believes he was ineffective as a legislator.
Sol Flores, a community activist, and Neli Vazquez Rowland, co-founder of A Safe Haven, are also expected to jump into the race.
“I think a true democracy is having as many qualified candidates as possible,” Flores said.
Despite securing Gutierrez’s endorsement, Garcia dismisses critics that say a deal was made behind the scenes prior to the congressman’s decision to step aside.
Candidates have until Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. to file petitions, and national money will likely pour into a race that wasn’t even on the political radar less than two days ago.