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Chuy Garcia,  Mayoral Candidate in Chicago, Wants to Make History and Uniting a City Divided Over Crime.


CHICAGO — Rep. Jess “Chuy” Garcia wants to go back to Chicago because he has “deep love and passion for the city.” He hopes that voters will feel the same way and put him at the top of a crowded mayoral race where people are tired of crime.

Garcia, D-Ill., is a front-runner. He got into the race after being re-elected to Congress last year. But the Feb. 28 election, in which incumbent Lori Lightfoot is one of nine candidates, is likely to go to a runoff in April between the top two vote-getters.

It’s likely that there will be a runoff. I don’t think any of the candidates will get all of the votes “Wilfredo Cruz, an associate professor at Columbia College in Chicago, said,

Garcia, who is 66 years old, ran for mayor in 2015, three years before he was elected to Congress. His campaign brought together voters from different backgrounds, many of whom were excited about the possibility of the city’s first Latino mayor.

He made Rahm Emanuel, who was mayor at the time, go to a runoff. Even though he lost, his grass-roots campaign got Latinos and progressives excited.

Now, he’s trying to win over a city that’s been hit by a pandemic and where people are worried about crime. He has to reassure them that he can keep them safe without going back on changes made because of violence against Black and brown people.

Chuy Garcia,  Mayoral Candidate in Chicago, Wants to Make History and Uniting a City Divided Over Crime.

In an interview, Garcia said that “because of what Chicago has gone through,” the city needs the kind of politics and community- and coalition-building he was able to do in 2015.

Covid’s illness, deaths, and effects on the economy, along with the riots in Chicago after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, “are forcing us to think deeply about how we can build a more fair city,” he said.

In response to a question at a forum last week, Garcia said that the new leadership and building trust could bring more qualified Black men and women into the police force. But Ja’Mal Green, a community activist and candidate for mayor, told Garcia, “If we wait for that to happen, we’ll be waiting a hundred years.”

A Poll Shows That Voters Are Divided by Race and Ethnicity!

About 33% of the people who live in Chicago are white, 29% are Latino, and 29% are Black.

BSP Research did a poll for Latino and Black groups and found that 35% of Latino voters support Garcia. Paul Vallas, the grandson of Greek immigrants who used to run the schools in Chicago, comes in a far second with 12% of Latino voters.

But almost a quarter of white voters back Vallas, who has been talking about law and order and has the support of the Fraternal Order of Police. Because of the endorsement, Garcia and other people can now attack him.

Black voters have split their support among the seven Black candidates, with 22% going to Lightfoot. The poll showed that 13% of Black voters chose Vallas, while only 5% chose Garcia. Garcia is the only candidate who has spent money on advertising in Spanish so far, about $118,000 worth.

New Progressives Have Arrived!

The organizing director for United Working Families, Roco Garcia, said that her family in Little Village knew the name, Chuy Garcia, even though she is not related to him. She thinks highly of him and backed him in 2015.

But she criticized Johnson’s work on issues that the group has supported and pushed for, like putting a stop to schools being closed. She said, “It’s about where we’re going and who’s there now.”

As of last week, about 20% of Chicago voters were still undecided. For some, like attorney Rigo Fernandez, the most important thing is who can win. He said that he hadn’t ruled out Johnson, but that he was still thinking about Garcia.

In a race, Chuy beats them all,” he said. “That’s something I’ll think about when I make my final choice.”

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