There’s nothing normal about the way Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez’s retirement announcement went down.
The abruptness of his decision, the suspicious timing, the immediate coronation of a successor — all of it set off a flurry of speculation Tuesday that Gutiérrez had made some kind of grand inside play, perhaps brokered with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
* ABC 7…
Gutierrez said the only reason he was retiring was because Garcia was willing to run for his seat. The two share a long history and similar views on many issues. Both said there were no backroom deals preceding the announcement.
* John Kass…
“I believe life is like a novel. And there are only so many chapters,” Gutierrez said.
So I’m waiting for the chapters about Luis going into the Puerto Rican real estate development business — using his many political contacts and making a fortune on his hurricane-ravaged ancestral home island.
* Greg Hinz…
He’s about to turn 64, with an energy level that’s high, but not as high as it was. His lifelong goal to pass comprehensive immigration reform is effectively dead in Washington, at least for now.
That lovely, warm island he considers his second home desperately needs his help to rebuild. And, in the wonderful way of Chicago politics, he pretty much can hand-pick his successor in Congress.
There could be something else that hasn’t come out. But at the moment, it looks like some combination of the above explains why U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago, today did what local lawmakers almost never do: Walk away from as safe a seat as exists under the Capitol dome, one that easily could have been his for another decade or two.
While word trickled out Monday night about the political shake-up, the big question heading into Tuesday was why Gutierrez was hanging it up. The nearly 64-year-old Democratic oratorical firebrand has made a national and international name for himself on issues of immigration rights and sovereignty for a hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico against the more recent backdrop of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Gutierrez, however, offered only generalities about his reasons for leaving Congress and what his future would hold. He said he planned to travel the nation with his family to create “a new fierce framework for immigrant rights across this country as we work to 2020 and the presidential election.” Gutierrez, who was born in Chicago to parents of Puerto Rican heritage, also said he wanted to assist in rebuilding the island.
Those efforts, he said, were not compatible with holding the 4th Congressional District seat — one of the most bizarrely shaped districts in the nation, which has been compared to a claw or ear muffs by using inner-ring suburbs to link Latino populations from the city’s Northwest and Southwest Sides.
“This is my time to move on,” Gutierrez said.
He said he had no immediate plans to run for office in either Puerto Rico or Illinois, but didn’t exclude it in the future.
“I’m not going to rule that out,” he told AP. “I think there might be a possibility for me to run for public office.”
* Mark Brown…
Rep. Luis Gutierrez is planning to lay the groundwork for a run for president in 2020.
Gutierrez never came right out and said that Tuesday during a 53-minute press conference explaining his surprise decision to leave Congress at the end of this term and anoint Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to replace him.
But everything Gutierrez did say pointed in that direction.
I realize that will strike many of you as crazy talk. I don’t think I would have taken it seriously before Tuesday.
But what Gutierrez seemed to be mapping out was the type of campaign that could be used to hold the Democratic Party accountable for its commitments to the nation’s immigrant and Latino communities, instead of what he sees as a party that abandons them when it becomes inconvenient.
It wouldn’t be the kind of campaign where he’s trying to win the nomination so much as a campaign to collect delegates and carry the cause of the immigrant community to the convention.
* Fox News…
After Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez abruptly announced his retirement Tuesday and endorsed a successor without revealing his future political plans, Fox News has learned the outspoken immigration advocate will be testing the waters for a potential 2020 presidential bid. […]
Fox News is told Gutierrez will set a national schedule for the first six months of 2018, visiting cities across the country to test the waters for a White House run. If he enters, he’ll likely face a crowded field of Democrats eager to take on Trump.
* Gutierrez federal pension estimated at $62,000 a year
* Fran Spielman: Luis-Chuy move buoys Rahm — but for how long?: “Garcia would have had the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU all locked up. Without him, it opens the door for others to step up who would not otherwise have run for fear of dividing the anti-Emanuel vote. Be careful what you wish for because you might eliminate one problem and create three others.”