Lori Lightfoot

After Winning Reelection to Congress, Could Jesús ‘Chuy' García Jump Into Chicago Mayoral Race?

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Tuesday’s midterm elections had huge consequences both at the state and federal levels, but one candidate that was on the ballot could find himself in the middle of a much-more contentious race in a few short months.

Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García won reelection to Congress in Illinois’ 4th district on Tuesday night, but all signs seem to be pointing toward him taking on another challenge, as he is potentially gearing up to attempt to unseat Mayor Lori Lightfoot in February’s municipal elections.

García, who previously ran for mayor in 2015, is set to make a "major announcement" on Thursday in Chicago. That date coincides with the 40th anniversary of the date that former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington launched his historic campaign to become the city's first Black mayor.

While García’s focus was on his Congressional race Tuesday, several other signs pointed to him potentially laying the groundwork for a mayoral run, including nominating petitions that were observed on tables at his Little Village victory party after his race was called.

García also spent part of Election Day shaking hands with customers at a downtown CTA station, doing so with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who also won reelection on Tuesday.

Pritzker, a Chicago resident, has remained mum on whether he’d offer financial support or an endorsement in the upcoming mayoral race, but with his prodigious political spending up and down the ballot, it would not be shocking to see him get involved in the February election.

Last week, an internal poll was released that showed García ahead of Lightfoot in a projected runoff race between the two candidates. García led the poll with 43% of the vote, while Lightfoot accounted for 34%. Approximately 23% of voters were undecided.

Campaign forms have also been amended in the runup to the mayoral election, and supporters have been seen circulating petition forms in other locations, with all of those signs pointing toward a García run.

A mayoral run could also be a chance for García to complete some unfinished business, as he lost a runoff election against former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2015.

If García does make the jump, he’ll face a crowded field of contenders. That list of course includes Lightfoot, who will be seeking a second term in office, but it will also include Chicago Alds. Sophia King, Ray Lopez and Roderick Sawyer. Dr. Willie Wilson will make a third run at the mayor’s job this February. Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas is also in the race, as is Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who received the endorsement of the Chicago Teachers Union.

The CTU endorsed García during his last mayoral run in 2015.

Community activist Ja’Mal Green, Chicago police veteran Frederick Collins and State Rep. Kam Buckner are also in the field.

Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Alds. Brian Hopkins and Tom Tunney are also said to be mulling runs, with the election set for Feb. 28.

If none of the candidates reaches 50% of the vote in that election, then a runoff between the top two vote getters will take place later in the spring.

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