State Rep. La Shawn Ford announced Wednesday that he is officially running for Chicago mayor.
Ford had previously hinted at a mayoral run several times, saying on multiple occasions that a coalition of African-American leaders have encouraged him to run.
"The boost from the West Side elected officials and overwhelming grassroots engagement has pushed us one step closer to announcing a 2019 mayoral bid for Chicago," Ford said in a statement.
"We have collected three times the petition signatures needed to begin engaging the 77 Chicago communities in building one Chicago that is powered by people."
Ford is a Democratic state lawmaker who has represented portions of the city's West Side since 2007. He is a licensed real estate broker and insurance agent, according to his biography on the General Assembly's website.
He is running unopposed for re-election to the 8th House District, on the ballot in November for a sixth term in the post he hopes to abandon should his run for mayor be successful.
Ford joins a crowded field, with 17 other declared candidates running to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who announced in September that he would not seek re-election.
Those candidates include Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, former Chicago Police Board president Lori Lightfoot, ex-Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, and ex-U.S. Secretary of Commerce Bill Daley, among others.
Ford was expected to make a formal campaign announcement at a Nov. 8 event at the Sankofa Cultural Arts and Business Center in the South Austin neighborhood.