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Why did Gutiérrez decide to retire?

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017

* Politico

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.

* Tribune

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.

* AP

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.

* Related…

* 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.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Buford - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    Would be interesting to see him run for President. Don’t think he would get very far though.

  2. - The Captain - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    Gutierrez has had one foot out the door for at least 10 years, the timing may have been odd but this wasn’t a surprise to anyone in Democratic politics. In fact, ten years ago he announced his retirement for mostly the same reasons he listed yesterday but later rescinded that retirement and decided to run again. His retirement has been a rumor for so long that Chuy Garcia said he still didn’t believe him after he called and told him he would retire.

    But nevertheless the tinfoil hat types need their day in the sun and today is that day I guess.

  3. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:14 pm:

    I’m surprised Gutierrez didn’t mention the release of Oscar Lopez at the presser yesterday. Along with immigration that was the issue he was most vocal about & he is retiring after accomplishing that.

    Also I think that Carlos Rosa running for Congress is really about testing the waters for Carlos Rosa for Mayor 2019

  4. - DeseDemDose - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    Has anybody cared what Kass mumbles or writes about for years?

  5. - Grand Avenue - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    A “Terry Getz” has filed for the Democratic Nomination for Governor - has anyone heard of this person?

  6. - PJ - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    “Terry Getz” doesn’t even turn anything up on Google. Someone’s playing games. Whoever it is will be kicked off the ballot pasthaste.

  7. - Shake - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    Luis Was A Good Politician For The Working Citizens Of Illinois.He Will Be Missed.

  8. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    I’m hearing THE Rich Miller thinks Terry Getz is one of the top 10 Democrats to watch in the race for governor.

  9. - ughhh - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

  10. - City Zen - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    ==Carlos Rosa for Mayor 2019==

    He has a better chance running for Congress in the Earmuff 4th District. Chuy with a “Rosa-lite” platform pretty much lost every ward in the mayoral race except for those in the 4th District. I don’t see Rosa converting any voters.

  11. - What's in a name? - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    I still think Kass is a Royko wanna be with a tenth of the talent. I used to find his columns so annoying that I simply decided to quit reading anything he writes. If enough people do that he can go back to butchering or whatever holier than thou background he claims to have.

  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    Isn’t Kass chummy with Nick Blase, the former mayor of Niles who went to federal prison for corruption?

  13. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    I wish Rep Gutierrez well in whatever it is he plans to do in the future.

  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    ===A “Terry Getz” has filed ===

    Stay on topic, people. I’ve reached out to him.

  15. - Colin O'Scopey - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    Here is what I find exhausting about John Kass: He sees skulduggery, doom, gloom, chumbalones, fixes, graft, bribery and negativity in every nook and cranny of state, county and local (Chicago) government. Have we had our share of characters? Yes, no doubt? But can anyone point to one positive story about government in Illinois from Kass’ column? If you truly believe “nuttin’s on the square” in Illinois, how can you find the good in anything? John acts like a spouse whose wife left him and his view of marriage, anyone’s marriage, is one that is toxic and irredeemable.

  16. - Ron - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 1:01 pm:

    I don’t like Chuy, and Ramirez Rosa is worse. He would get demolished by Rahm.

  17. - Steve - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    Whether you like Gutierrez or not : you can’t deny the man has immense energy and a long political record. It’s not crazy to think of him running for President in 2020. Why not ? Gutierrez has more energy than most college students today…

  18. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    A scandal seems possible I guess, but man, to wrap your arms around Chuy so much if you know that’s coming is a hell of a thing to do.

    ==Chuy with a “Rosa-lite” platform pretty much lost every ward in the mayoral race except for those in the 4th District.==

    And won 44% of the vote. I can see a feistier candidate than Chuy and 4 more years of Rahm fatigue picking up that 6 points.

  19. - Amalia - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    well, with all the famous folks getting into hot water lately, you never know. but, seriously Politico, nothing normal? have you been to Chicago? that was just perfect politics piggy move up. why don’t you ask some of the seething people who would have loved to have an open play at the seat if they think that was an abnormal thing.

  20. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 1:38 pm:

    - DeseDemDose - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    Has anybody cared what Kass mumbles or writes about for years?


  21. - A guy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 1:39 pm:

    Anyone of those 6 takes is plausible one would suppose.

    I’m guessin’ it’s something else. Don’t know what, but the suddenness is odd and filing the day before is very odd. Thinking there’s more to this. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  22. - Steve - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    Anyone call say negative things about Gutierrez but you can’t deny that he could actually win the Democrat party nomination. He’s got a long record of experience . He has a progressive voting record. He also is known by informed voters who show up in the primaries . Barack Obama and Donald Trump have opened doors for running for public office. But, Gutierrez has actual experience in elected office.

  23. - Colin O'Scopey - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    To the bartender serving Steve at 1:41 p.m.: I’ll have what he’s having.

  24. - A guy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    ==Anyone call say negative things about Gutierrez but you can’t deny that he could actually win the Democrat party nomination.===

    I’ll say it, and I’ll deny it. He can’t.

  25. - Ron - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    Ramirez Rosa isn’t even popular in his own ward. He has no chance of beating Rahm. Hope he runs and loses.

  26. - BucknIrish - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    ==I’ll say it, and I’ll deny it. He can’t.==

    He can’t, or he won’t? Just wondering your reasoning behind it being impossible.

  27. - bored now - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 2:36 pm:

    Gutierrez eyes 2020 presidential run

  28. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===Gutierrez eyes 2020 presidential run===

    A little late to the game. Mark Brown wrote his column last night.

  29. - Dick Daley - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 3:02 pm:

    Nothing is a coincidence but Rahm might be miscalculating.

    He had a known opponent with Chuy, now anyone can ride and be the next Chuy, who is less controlled by the political mafia.

  30. - A guy - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 3:05 pm:

    ==He can’t, or he won’t? Just wondering your reasoning behind it being impossible.==

    Let’s start with 25 years and no accomplishments in Congress (beyond bomb throwing)
    No money.
    No influence.
    Little or no recognition beyond the city.
    Lots of real estate issues and relative hiring with his daughter.
    No one in his own party willing to identify with him for a Presidential race.
    The Democrats have work to do, but no party is that desperate.
    I believe Latinos may wind up with a better choice in both parties.

  31. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 3:12 pm:

    After 24 years, I’d imagine service in the House is excruciatingly boring at times, especially when you’re in the minority.

    You’re not getting any younger, is that how you want to spend your time if you don’t have to? Not everyone wants to go out with their boots on.

  32. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    He’s 64 now. So that means in the 2020 campaign, he’d be running as the youngest Democratic candidate, right?

  33. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 3:53 pm:

    You don’t trade the immense power of being in the House of Representatives (with your party poised for a comeback) for some implausible presidential run two years out of the limelight. As far as a Hispanic running, I suspect the national party would far prefer a Castro run than the FALN-supporting, shades of scandal surrounding, LG. I just don’t see that being the reason.

  34. - City Zen - Wednesday, Nov 29, 17 @ 7:15 pm:

    ==And won 44% of the vote. I can see a feistier candidate than Chuy and 4 more years of Rahm fatigue picking up that 6 points.==

    But Rosa? I don’t see the African American community warming to him that didn’t otherwise vote for Chuy, considering his relationship with Harold Washington. And he will scare away any voters from Bridgeport-Andersonville-Bucktown that are the main targets of Rosa’s so-called income equity tirades.

    Rahm is indeed vulnerable, but not Rosa. Guzzardi maybe…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
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