CHICAGO – On Wednesday, three more well-known Chicago politicians discussed running for mayor.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez announced he would not be running. He told reporters, he "must humbly decline," at a press conference.
Gutierrez is out but he wants Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in.
“ I want him to be my mayor. I think he can heal the city of Chicago. I think he has that special place,” he said.
Gutierrez said he’s setting up an exploratory committee for Garcia and wants his nomination petitions circulating by this weekend.
Gutierrez and Garcia both cut their teeth in politics under Mayor Harold Washington. But in 2015, Gutierrez supported Mayor Rahm Emanuel over Garcia. Then, last year, announcing his retirement, Gutierrez backed Garcia for his congressional seat.
Before Emanuel decided not to seek reelection, Garcia was solely focused on Congress. But now, he’s weighing a bid for mayor.
Garcia left Wednesday’s Cook County Board meeting before cameras arrived, but he later released a statement saying:
“As I take a closer look at the Mayor’s race I will continue to dialogue with Chicagoans from across our great city to talk about solutions that will both unify us and improve everyone’s quality of life.”
On Wednesday, Toni Preckwinkle made her first comments about running.
"You’ve heard over the past few days from my political director who said correctly that I’m interested, and I’ll leave at that for now," she said.
Although she’s setup an exploratory committee and is circulating petitions, she’s was cautious and reading from a prepared script.
“If an when I schedule an announcement, I’ll make sure you’re informed,” Preckwinkle said.
Preckwinkle gave no timeline on her decision.
A person someone familiar with Gery Chico’s thinking said he’s moving the pieces into place for a likely bid and he’s secured $1.5 million in financial pledges—that’s more money than the dozen announced candidates have raised.