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Gutierrez Weighs a Run for Chicago Mayor

Rahm Emanuel could face a serious challenge from Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), one of the most vocal supporters of comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, in the race for Chicago mayor, according to a poll commissioned by Gutierrez as he decides whether to run for the office. Emanuel won a horse-race matchup, but Gutierrez is the leading candidate among Latino voters and could rally their support in a runoff election, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Gutierrez reportedly plans to announce on Thursday whether he will enter the race.

As of now, the Sun-Times reports he is still unsure whether he should stay in Congress or run to replace longtime Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. If he runs, it could be a loss for national immigration reform advocates: Gutierrez backs a number of immigration-related measures, such as the DREAM Act for undocumented students and military service members and the Uniting American Families Act to allow gay and lesbian citizens to petition for legal status for their foreign-born partners.

Here are the poll results (emphasis mine):

In a horse-race matchup, the front-runner in the Gutierrez poll is former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at 27 percent to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, 19 percent; former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.), 9 percent; Gutierrez, 8 percent; Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), 6 percent, state Sen. James Meeks, 5 percent; City Clerk Miguel del Valle, 3 percent; Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2 percent and Chicago City Colleges Board chief Gery Chico, 2 percent.

The election is expected to take place in two parts: One general election, then a runoff with the two leading candidates.

Gutierrez has made immigration reform one of his central issues, and it will likely play a role whether or not he runs for the office. Supporters of immigration reform, particularly those in Washington, have said his candidacy could hurt the prospects for immigration reform in Congress. On the other hand, Latino and pro-immigration reform groups in Chicago have said they would favor Gutierrez over Emanuel, who failed to deliver comprehensive immigration reform during his time in the White House.

“The immigrant communities do not want Rahm Emanuel to come home without immigration reform,” Joshua Hoyt, executive director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said in September. “The Latino communities will be behind [Rep. Luis] Gutierrez.”

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