Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa dropped out of the Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Luis Gutíerrez (D-Ill.) on Tuesday and endorsed Cook County Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, the odds-on front-runner in the race. If elected, Ramirez-Rosa would have been the first openly gay Latino member of Congress.
This narrows the field of Democrats vying for the chance to replace U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez. Gutierrez announced in November that he wouldn’t seek re-election after 13 terms in office. In addition, the timing of Gutíerrez’s announcement left less than a week for candidates to collect the number of signatures necessary to get on the ballot.
A statement released by Ramirez-Rosa regarding his decision said:
“After spending the last week discussing with family, friends, supporters, and leaders in the progressive movement, I have come to the conclusion that this is the best course of action not just for me, but for the vitally important movement we continue to build every day.”
That leaves five Democrats, including Gutierrez’s endorsed candidate, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Calling Garcia a “good friend and progressive champion,” the alderman invited his supporters to endorse Garcia as well.
“I hope you will join me in ensuring we have strong progressive leadership in this district at such a vital time in this country when so many of our critical concerns are at stake,” Ramirez-Rosa said.
Other Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in the largely Democratic and Hispanic Chicago-area district are Aldermen Proco “Joe” Moreno and Raymond Lopez, community activist Sol Flores and police Sgt. Richard Gonzalez.
A Public Policy Polling survey released on Dec. 19 showed Garcia with 54 percent support compared with 7 percent for Ramirez-Rosa and even less for other challengers. The immediate impact of Ramirez-Rosa’s decision is to virtually ensure Garcia’s victory in the March 20 race.
But it is also likely to disappoint the progressive activists and democratic socialists who had rallied behind Ramirez-Rosa’s bid. Not only would Ramirez-Rosa, 28, have been the first openly gay Latino member of Congress. He also would have been the only person who was both a sitting member of Congress and a dues-paying member of the DSA, which has grown several-fold in size since President Donald Trump’s election.
Ramirez-Rosa has emerged as one of the most charismatic figures in the resurgent Democratic Socialists of America. His impassioned speaking style and diverse background, his talent for making the sometimes bewildering precepts of the far left accessible to ordinary people ― especially millennials.
Upon his decision to run, Ramirez-Rosa said in an interview:
“Every day, Donald Trump and the Republicans intensify their attacks against our working families, against our immigrant families, against anyone that doesn’t look like a rich, white billionaire just like him. We need a bold, progressive response in Washington, D.C., that’s tied to grassroots movements that say not just ‘We’re gonna resist Donald Trump,’ but ‘We’re gonna vigorously resist Donald Trump by uplifting the bold progressive policies that are gonna help our working families.’”
Three Republicans have also submitted petitions for the March 20 primary.