Gutierrez Considering Run for Mayor Following Emanuel’s Announcement

Longtime Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez is considering a run for mayor in Chicago following Mayor Rahm Emanuel's announcement that he would not seek re-election. 

The congressman had announced in late 2017 that he would retire from the congressional seat he's held since 1992 and moving to Puerto Rico after his term in Congress ends early next year. But it appears the mayor's recent announcement may have Gutierrez reconsidering. 

His name has been among many speculated as potential candidates in wake of Emanuel's bombshell and sources close to Gutierrez confirmed he was mulling a run. 

He told the Chicago Sun-Times "I owe it to Chicagoans that are calling" but noted he had no plans to open an exploratory committee or campaign at the moment. 

"I am simply going to continue to talk," he said. 

The 64-year-old Gutierrez was born in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents and is a leading member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 

Also considering a potential run is Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who is rumored to be launching an exploratory committee next week. 

Multiple sources told NBC 5 several possible candidates have started polling. Preckwinkle and Congressman Mike Quigley are testing their name recognition, sources close to both potential candidates said. 

Quigley, who is currently running for his sixth full term, also told the Chicago Tribune he's thinking about a run but doesn't "feel compelled to rush into a decision."

Chicago lawyer and former mayoral candidate Gery Chico confirmed Wednesday he is considering throwing his hat into the ring. He raised more than $4.5 million during his previous run for mayor and "can unify the city," a campaign spokesperson said in a statement. 

And Bill Daley is also weighing the idea. When asked what would make him consider a run, he responded with "If the Bears beat the Packers." The teams play in their season opener Sunday in Green Bay. 

Several other names have been floated as potential candidates in the upcoming race following the surprising news that Emanuel would not be seeking re-election.  

Some rumored candidates have already denied they're seeking the role while others remained coy on the subject.  

Those who do announce their candidacy will be joining an already crowded field, with at least 11 others vying for the position. 

Emanuel revealed that he would not seek a third term during a last-minute press conference on Tuesday, saying that being mayor "has been the job of a lifetime but it is not a job for a lifetime."

While he's stayed quiet on his future plans, Emanuel - a prolific fundraiser - had been steadily adding to his war chest, with more than $7.5 million in his political committee as of the most recent reporting period ending on June 30. He has not yet thrown his support behind a candidate, but appeared to indicate a new name would be joining the race. 

"I don't believe all the candidates that are running are in the field," he told NBC 5 Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, Lisa Madigan on Wednesday quelled any rumors that she might toss her name into the mix. 

"I care very deeply about our city. I know that we have some significant problems to deal with and I intend to continue in helping in any way that I can but I also intend to do that as a resident of the city of Chicago, not as a candidate or the mayor of the city of Chicago," she told NBC 5 in an interview. 

Valerie Jarrett on Friday also said that while she is "humbled and honored" to be among those speculated, "I am not going to run."

"I will continue to devote my public service to advancing gender and racial equity, protecting civil rights, reforming our criminal justice system, encouraging voter registration and voting, and furthering the critical mission of the Obama Foundation to inspire and prepare the next generation to lead," she said in a statement. "I will endorse and actively support a candidate for mayor with a proven track record of bold and effective leadership who I believe is prepared to unify and expand opportunity for all in the greatest city in the world at this critical time. In the meantime, I will work to serve our city outside of public office, and I hope all Chicagoans will join me in the most important role of all: Citizen." 

Comptroller Susana Mendoza avoided saying Thursday whether she was considering running, saying instead "right now I'm running for Comptroller." 

Many have looked to Jesus "Chuy" Garcia in the hours following Emanuel's surprising announcement. The Cook County Commissioner had already won the Democratic primary for Illinois' 4th Congressional District and has been a frontrunner in the race to replace Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who announced last November he would not seek re-election. Garcia told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview last year, however, that he was considering another run for mayor in 2019. He previously forced an historic runoff election with Emanuel in the 2015 race. 

Here's a look at who's already running and who might join the race. 

Already running:

Dorothy Brown

Amara Enyia

Ja'Mal Green

William Kelly

John Kozlar

Troy LaRaviere

Lori Lightfoot

Garry McCarthy

Matthew Roney

Neal Sales-Griffin

Paul Vallas

Willie Wilson

Could potentially run:

Bill Daley

Jesus "Chuy" Garcia

Luis Gutierrez

Susana Mendoza

Joe Moreno

Ricardo Munoz

Ameya Pawar

Toni Preckwinkle

Mike Quigley

Roderick Sawyer

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