WASHINGTON – State Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago, launched a bid for Congress on Wednesday, setting up a Democratic primary in a new district created to magnify Hispanic voting power.
“I have a proven track record of building strong and diverse coalitions and this campaign will reflect the people and priorities of the communities in the 3rd district,” she said in a statement.
Ramirez, an assistant majority leader in the House, is running in the new 3rd Congressional District, designed by state Democratic mapmakers to be a Hispanic “influenced” district and, if things work out as planned, yield the election of a Hispanic House member even if the majority of the voting age population is not Hispanic.
The new 3rd Congressional District is so Democratic that the winner of the June primary will likely clinch the seat next November.
Last month, Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) become the first candidate to announce a run in the new district, which sweeps in parts of Chicago’s North Side while meandering through suburban Cook and DuPage counties.
The daughter of immigrants, Ramirez, 38, is the first Guatemalan American to serve in the Illinois General Assembly. She was first elected to the state House in 2018.
Living in Humboldt Park since she was 7 years old, Ramirez attended the Sabin Elementary School, 2216 W Hirsch St., and the Prosser Career Academy, 2148 N Long Ave., for her first three years of high school. She graduated from the now closed St. Gregory High School, 1677 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., in 2001.
After high school, Ramirez started working at neighborhood nonprofits while attending classes at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave., majoring in Justice Studies. It took her 12 years to complete her degree.
She is the founding executive director of the Center for Changing Lives, a Northwest Side social service organization.
More candidates are expected to run for the rarely available open seat anchored in Democratic Chicago. A Democratic primary with multiple Hispanics will divide the Hispanic vote, leaving the door wide open for a non-Hispanic candidate to claim the seat.
In the new map, the 4th Congressional District will be a majority Hispanic district with the incumbent, Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., expected to seek another term in 2022.
Ramirez kicked off her campaign with an endorsement from, among others, State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, the chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee — who had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the seat he helped draw and now is out of the running.