CHICAGO (CBS) — Congressman Luis Gutierrez walked into Tuesday’s news conference with his chosen would-be successor, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
“Chuy, I want to say, you are ready,” Gutierrez said, who insisted he’s leaving Congress now because Garcia agreed to run. “I’d be a candidate, but I don’t have to be a candidate. Why? Because there is somebody who’s going to bring new energy, new vision, a new touch to the 4th Congressional District.”
Gutierrez says while he is leaving Congress, he is not retiring. In addition to traveling the country with his wife, he plans to devote more time to Hurricane Maria’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
“I love Puerto Rico,” he said. “And she’s in a lot of pain.”
Garcia, the County Commissioner who pushed Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a run-off two years ago, told reporters his campaign for Congress is not part of a deal to stay out of the mayor’s race in 2019.
WATCH: A Look Back At Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s Career:
“No deals. Absolutely not. I will not endorse Rahm Emanuel for mayor in 2019,” Garcia said.
Guiterrez and Garcia will be forever linked — both were young men who were elected aldermen in the mid 1980’s supporting Mayor Harold Washington and breaking council wars.
Photos of both men with the late mayor surrounded the podium Tuesday.
“We were like two of his sons, Harold Washington’s sons. He trusted in us, and I’m so happy that the winding road has brought us back together,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez says he will not run for Chicago Mayor or Puerto Rico governor. With that said, he did not rule out seeking another office some day. He will serve the reminder of his term, all through next year.