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Chuy heads to L.A. in search of Latino support — and cash for mayor’s race



Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn’t the only Chicago mayoral candidate with West Coast money connections.

His challenger, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, headed to Los Angeles on Thursday to branch out his fundraising efforts less than three weeks before the April 7 runoff. It’s one of three out-of-state trips Garcia is planning in upcoming days. Next week, Garcia is scheduled to head to Washington, D.C., and New York City to raise money.

Among those expected to attend the Los Angeles fundraiser are deep-pocketed Latino executives and producers as well as immigration activists, progressives and local Latino politicians. Tickets start at $250 and go up to $5,000.

Entravision CEO Walter Ulloa was expected to attend. In addition to heading the Spanish-language media group, Ulloa is a President Barack Obama appointee to the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees.

Some others: Moctesuma Esparza, who produced “Selena”; Gil Vasquez, who founded Vasquez & Co. LLP accounting firm and Los Angeles City Council Member and longtime activist Gil Sedillo.

“His message is one of hope. It’s a message that tells everyday Chicagoans and people that their priorities and their concerns should come first as a mayor that governs the city of Chicago,” said Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org, a group that promotes Latino involvement in public policy. “It’s a message of inclusivity. It’s a progressive message for immigrants and I think it’s inspiring people.”

Carmona said he is attending the fundraiser personally, not on behalf of the group.

However, Presente.org has been active in the race, he said, in a role of “educating” Chicagoans on the “stark difference” between Garcia and Emanuel.

“When you consider Rahm’s track record and history on economics, on educational and immigration policy, [they] really go directly against the interests of Latinos,” Carmona said, calling Emanuel one of the “masterminds of the current deportation machinery.”

Carmona claims membership of more than 11,000 members in Illinois. 

The fundraisers aim to bolster Garcia’s reach in Chicago — both on-air and on the ground — in the final days leading up to the April 7 election.

Emanuel has vastly outraised Garcia, with mega donations from wealthy donors — including billionaire Ken Griffin, who alone donated $750,000 in the last two weeks to Emanuel’s campaign and pro-Emanuel super PAC Chicago Forward. Emanuel’s money advantage allowed him to launch TV spots days after the Feb. 24 first-round election, attacking Garcia and rehabilitating the mayor’s prickly image.

The bulk of Garcia’s cash comes from labor groups, including SEIU Health Care, which gave another $100,000 on Thursday, as well as SEIU Local 1 and local, state and national teachers’ unions. Groups like Moveon.org have also increased the flow of smaller cash donations to Garcia.

Contributing: Fran Spielman