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Mayoral candidate and Cook County Board Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia speaks to the City Club of Chicago on Tuesday. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times

Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia vows: ‘This race will be a real race’ for mayor

SHARE Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia vows: ‘This race will be a real race’ for mayor
SHARE Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia vows: ‘This race will be a real race’ for mayor

Despite lagging in both fund-raising and in the polls against Mayor Rahm Emanuel, candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia on Tuesday promised that February would bring “a real race” for mayor.

“As we move toward Feb. 24, election day, we will have an army out there. With the endorsements I’ve received and will continue to receive, people will not be a problem,” Garcia said during remarks before the City Club of Chicago. “We today opened six offices across the city of Chicago. . . . We’ve raised over $1 million and some additional dollars will be coming in during them month of January. As we move into February, this race will be a real race and we will compete everywhere in the city of Chicago.”

Garcia’s comments come one week after campaign disclosures showed Emanuel with a staggering $6.4 million to start 2015 while Garcia had about $800,000 and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) had about $200,000.

On Tuesday, Garcia criticized Emanuel for his handling of public-safety issues.

“Mayor Emanuel has contributed to producing more than 10,000 shootings during this time in office,” Garcia charged. But he added: “Let’s stop thinking about this as a matter of statistics.”

Under Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, Chicago began a new practice of keeping separate statistics on shootings, recording shootings separately, rather than lumping them in under more generalized categories such as assault.

Among those watching Garcia’s remarks was Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who withdrew from mayoral contention because of health concerns.

“My candidacy surfaced overnight. Some people are still taken aback by it. Perhaps why only one elected official may be in the room,”Garcia said to laughter. “Others haven’t received their newspaper yet.”

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