CHICAGO (CBS) — While Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia is Congressman Luis Gutierrez’s replacement pick, he’s not the only potential candidate expected to circulate petitions for his seat.
In fact, a box of petitions arrived at the office of 35th ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa Tuesday afternoon, who launched a campaign within hours of hearing that Rep. Gutierrez was retiring.
“Last night I heard from hundreds of people saying, ‘Run, Carlos, run.'”
As Chicago’s youngest alderman, the 28-year-old says it’s time for a fresh perspective.
“I’m going to stand up for our working families and say it’s time to move the Democratic party in a new direction — to the left, more progressive, that’s really fighting for us,” he said.
Although Rosa once worked for Rep. Gutierrez, the congressman’s endorsement went to his long-time friend, Garcia.
“There is somebody who’s going to bring new energy, new vision — a new touch,” Gutierrez said of Garcia.
Garcia, who plans to champion immigration issues if elected, admits Washington was never on his radar.
“I wanted to stay local, but having had the experience that I’ve acquired, I believe that I have the skill set to be the most effective congressman for the 4th-District,” Garcia said.
Alderman Proco Joe Moreno said he plans to run as well, gathering petition signatures before next Monday’s deadline and jabbed at Guttierez actions.
“I’m in a strong position and I have a very strong organization community and political organization that’s going to be able to go out there and get the signatures – twice, three times the signatures that are necessary, but there may be other qualified candidates that just don’t have the ability to do that. So that’s the problem with this kind of deal in my opinion,” he said.
The only candidate who’s already filed the necessary petitions is newcomer Richard Gonzalez, a Chicago Police lieutenant with the department for 25 years.
“The way I look at it, I’m the only candidate that’s officially filed. Whether or not they’ll be able to obtain the amount of petitions they’re supposed to obtain in a week’s time, I don’t know,” Gonzalez said.
Now that Garcia is vacating his seat on the County Board, he’ll endorse Ald. Rick Munoz, leaving a seat on the City Council.