Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Garcia, by running for Congress, wants to be the local politico who does it all

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia has been on the local political scene since back in the days when he was one of the aldermen aligned with then-Mayor Harold Washington.

GARCIA: Wants Congressional seal behind head
During the past three-plus decades, he has been an alderman, an Illinois state senator and (for the past eight years) a Cook County commissioner. Now, he’s looking to make the move “up and out.”

AS IN HE’S setting his sights on Washington, D.C.

Specifically, he will be using this week to put together a set of nominating petitions so that he can run for the seat that has been held for the past 24 years by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. – himself a former alderman who was aligned with Washington and against the City Council majority that went out of its way to thwart Harold every chance it could get.

Of course, these ambitions didn’t come up literally until Monday.

For that was the day candidates started filing their nominating petitions for the 2018 election cycle, and Gutierrez let it be known publicly he wasn’t filing petitions to run for any post.

AFTER A POLITICAL career dating back to the early 1980s, Gutierrez thinks it’s time to hang it up. Retirement.

GUTIERREZ: Ready to retire
Which means the post is open, and Garcia’s ambition got the best of him. He’s going to try to make the move to D.C. Even though until Monday, his ambitions were to seek re-election to his Cook County post and possibly contemplate a second crack at the Chicago mayoral post come the 2019 election cycle.

In short, the move “up” to a higher level of government, but “out” of the world of Chicago politics – which is what some people think is the only relevant form of government in existence.

Being able to say he hangs out in a city with a neighborhood called “Foggy Bottom” won’t mean much to the people of Garcia’s home Little Village neighborhood.

OR LA VILLITA, if we want to pretend the neighborhood was always a Spanish-speaking enclave – and not once the home to many thousands of eastern Europeans of all sorts of ethnic origins.
RAMIREZ ROSA: Will he challenge Chuy?

Trying to make a move to the world of Washington politics would be good for Garcia’s own ambitions, if you want to believe that a Rahm Emanuel/Jesus Garcia political brawl was a fight that was “So 2015” and that a ’19 rematch could only be a letdown.

Although there are those people who would be eagerly looking forward to a rematch, which came about when Emanuel failed to win a majority vote in the election proper, then had to take on Garcia in a runoff – where Emanuel took 56 percent of the vote to Garcia’s 44 percent.

With Garcia being dominant in the Chicago wards where there were majority Latino populations that would have loved the idea of the city’s first Mexican-American elcalde – but the rest of the city (including the black majority population wards) preferring the idea of keeping the city’s first Jewish mayor.

IN THIS CASE, many of those wards that loved Chuy back in 2015 are all crammed into the congressional district that Gutierrez has represented for so long. He’d probably be the favorite over Carlos Ramirez Rosa, the alderman who was supposed to be a lieutenant governor candidate paired with Daniel Biss – until Ramirez’ attitudes toward Israel became more publicly known.

EMANUEL: The real winner?
There is one potential problem – the fact that nominating petitions must be filed by Dec. 4. As in Monday. That’s five days away. It’s going to take a rush-job to put together a set of sufficient signatures of support, and rush jobs usually are where flaws that can get candidates kicked off the ballot can occur.

It’s not going to be easy to replace Gutierrez – and that most likely was his intention in waiting until the last minute before letting his intentions be known. Even though Gutierrez is saying he backs Garcia to replace him, there is one bit of irony.

Gutierrez in 2015 backed Emanuel for mayor over Garcia. In creating a post for Garcia to aspire to, he knocks out the potential of a political rematch. Which makes one wonder if Rahm is the ultimate winner.


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