After taking a pass on mayor’s race, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley endorses Garcia

Earlier this week, Garcia was endorsed by former Gov. Pat Quinn, who chose him over Mayor Lori Lightfoot, whom he supported four years ago, and Paul Vallas, whom he chose in 2014 as his running mate for lieutenant governor.

SHARE After taking a pass on mayor’s race, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley endorses Garcia
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U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, speaks to students, many of whom came from Ukraine, at St. Nicholas Cathedral School in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.

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U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago), who took a pass on the mayor’s race, on Friday endorsed his congressional colleague Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, calling Garcia a “progressive champion through and through.”

“In Congress, I see how he relentlessly fights for the people of Chicago, delivering time and time again — from billions in infrastructure investments to build a more equitable city, to funding violence prevention programs and standing up for abortion rights,” Quigley was quoted as saying in a press release issued by Garcia’s mayoral campaign.

“The people of Chicago have a clear choice in this race. Chuy García is a progressive who will leave no one behind. He has my strongest endorsement.”

If lining up endorsements from high-profile candidates who decided not to run for mayor were a ticket to the runoff, Garcia would be in good shape.

Earlier this week, he was endorsed by former Gov. Pat Quinn, who circulated nominating petitions for mayor before deciding not to join the crowded field. Quinn chose Garcia over Mayor Lori Lightfoot, whom he supported four years ago, and Paul Vallas, whom he chose in 2014 as his running mate for lieutenant governor.

Quigley is a political centrist with a progressive bent from a North Side ward. He got his start in politics as a top aide to then-Ald. Bernard Hansen (44th) during the battle over lights at Wrigley Field. After a stint on the Cook County Board, he landed in Rahm Emanuel’s congressional seat after Emanuel became chief of staff to President Barack Obama.

Quigley’s high name recognition has increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. When he decided not to run for mayor, he said it was simply because he “cannot walk away from my duty to safeguard democracy, fight for American values abroad and stand up for the brave Ukrainian people in their time of maximum peril.”

Campaigning for mayor simply “would not allow me to fulfill this critical obligation,” he said.

“The great city I love faces unprecedented challenges on crime, schools, equity and fiscal matters that demand 100% full-time commitment from our mayor. At age 53, I would have relished the opportunity to get Chicago back on track. If I’m being completely honest, at 63, I don’t think my family and I can make this kind of commitment,” Quigley was quoted as saying.

The question now is whether Quigley’s endorsement will help Garcia capture a healthy chunk of the lakefront vote, where the nine-way race for mayor of Chicago could be decided.

Four years ago, lakefront voters helped propel Lightfoot to a first-place finish in round one of the mayoral sweepstakes, thanks to her reform message in the middle of the corruption scandal swirling around indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th).

Those same reform-minded voters have grown disenchanted with Lightfoot, who has broken several of her campaign promises and has not been as transparent as she promised she would be.

Candidates routinely line up as many endorsements as possible from present and former elected officials, but the value of endorsements has been questionable. Popularity can seldom be transferred to someone else.

Even so, it’s better to have Quigley’s endorsement than not to have it. That’s particularly true at a time when Lightfoot has been blanketing the airwaves with commercials attempting to link Garcia to two indicted political powerhouses: former House Speaker Michael Madigan and former crypto-currency kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried.

“I’m proud to have Congressman Mike Quigley on Team Chuy,” Garcia was quoted as saying in the press release.

“I know he is a strong partner and leader of the utmost integrity with a fighter’s spirit,” Garcia said. “Look at the team we are building. From across the city and all levels of government, leaders that the people trust are on Team Chuy. Our coalition is built for victory.”

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