Southwest Side Ald. Raymond Lopez will take on U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, he announced Tuesday, setting up a Democratic primary in which the challenger tries to paint the incumbent as too progressive for most residents of the district.
Surrounded by supporters at a restaurant in suburban Berwyn, the Chicago alderman — who has positioned himself as a backer of Chicago police on the City Council — said Garcia is “extreme.”
“He has chosen to try to lead from the left of the left, and in the meantime, he has left everyone else out in the cold,” Lopez said.
Lopez, 15th, said he’s more able to work with people from different political backgrounds than Garcia, and better at meeting constituents’ needs.
The challenger has his work cut out for him. While Garcia ran a lackluster campaign for mayor this year, he has strong support and a sizable political organization in his Southwest Side base. Garcia has been a member of Congress since 2019, representing the 4th Congressional District that now includes a good amount of the Southwest Side and snakes west into Cicero, Berwyn and several other western suburbs.
And while Garcia threw his support behind the winning mayoral candidacy of Brandon Johnson and his Chicago Teachers Union allies, Lopez backed the losing campaign of Paul Vallas, who had the Fraternal Order of Police endorsement.
Garcia campaign spokesman Manny Diaz characterized Lopez’s run for Congress as “nothing more than an attention-grabbing stunt.”
In a statement, Diaz said Lopez’s close relationship on the City Council with longtime former alderman Edward Burke, who is now facing federal racketeering charges, “raises serious concerns about his ethics.”
Lopez has announced his intention to run for the 4th Congressional District seat before. In 2018, he ran for the seat to succeed U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez but then dropped out. Garcia won that election and has held the post since.