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Lightfoot releases Spanish language ad narrated by Chuy Garcia

U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia is featured in a new campaign commercial from Lori Lightfoot. | Screenshot

Turns out Lori Lightfoot’s 11-year-old daughter isn’t the only star of the television commercials that will help the candidate close her mayoral runoff campaign. So is Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

On Monday, as Toni Preckwinkle entered her second week without any television advertising, Lightfoot released a Spanish-language ad titled “El Poder del Pueblo” — “the power of the people.

The ad will air on Univision and Telemundo, thanks to a $90,000 buy. The ad opens with Garcia talking to the camera, followed by shots of Lightfoot interacting with Hispanic voters and walking with Garcia.

The newly-elected congressman describes how Lightfoot would bring sorely-needed change to long-neglected Chicago neighborhoods.

Translated into English, Garcia says, “Chicago needs a fresh start. New leadership to break from the old machine politics. Lori Lightfoot has the vision and commitment to improve the lives of working people.”

He adds, “She is the change that will restore safety to our streets, excellence to education, and prosperity to all Chicago neighborhoods. As Lori says, we will bring the power of the people to City Hall. This April 2nd, vote for Lori Lightfoot for mayor.”

Four years ago, Garcia forced then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel into Chicago’s first-ever mayoral runoff even though Garcia got a late start, was out-spent by a four-to-one margin and Preckwinkle refused to endorse Garcia, her County Board floor leader.

This time around, Garcia took a pass on the mayor’s race, opting instead to take the seat in Congress passed off to him by retiring U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago.

At the time, that appeared to strengthen Preckwinkle’s position as the political heavyweight in the race. But Garcia and Preckwinkle had not mended political fences. Far from it.

The two were on opposite sides of an assessor’s race that saw Garcia-backed Fritz Kaegi soundly defeat the incumbent, Joe Berrios, a Preckwinkle ally accused of presiding over an unfair assessment system that benefited the wealthy at the expense of poor and middle-class homeowners.

Garcia was also miffed that Preckwinkle only belatedly supported his handpicked successor as county commissioner, Alma Anaya.

At the South Side Irish Parade on St. Patrick’s Day, Garcia endorsed Lightfoot over Preckwinkle. That same day, Lightfoot also claimed the endorsement of former mayoral candidate Jerry Joyce, days after receiving the pivotal endorsement of 19th Ward Democratic Committeeman Matt O’Shea.

Garcia’s reputation as a South Side political kingmaker took a bit of a beating when he failed to follow through on his threat to oust Ald. Edward Burke (14th), former chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee.

Despite Garcia’s endorsement, challenger Tanya Patino finished a distant second to Burke, 54.2 percent (3,917 votes) to 29.4 percent (2,123 votes) in a three-way race.

Burke’s easy re-election came despite being charged with attempted extortion for allegedly shaking down a Burger King franchise owner for legal business and for a $10,000 campaign contribution for Preckwinkle.

Garcia’s endorsement of Lightfoot could nevertheless be influential among Hispanic voters, who supported Susana Mendoza and Gery Chico in the first round on Feb. 26.

Both Mendoza and Chico have endorsed Lightfoot.

On the day Garcia took a pass on the mayor’s race, Preckwinkle was still holding out hope of winning the endorsement from her former floor leader.

In an apparent attempt to mend fences with Garcia, Preckwinkle released a statement on that day that talked about how “very grateful” she is “for the good work” Garcia has done as her floor leader “advocating for working families” and helping to “roll over 400,000 people to” the county’s health care system.

“I know that Chuy will continue advocating on behalf of our shared priorities for immigrants, women, and seniors in his new role as Congressman,” Preckwinkle was quoted as saying.

“I continue to look forward to our work on behalf of all Chicagoans.”