De Jesus withdraws from Chicago mayoral race

January 7, 2011

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(Chip Mitchell/WBEZ)
The pastor throws his weight behind Gery Chico.

Another Chicago mayoral candidate is pulling out of the race. The Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus said Friday he’d throw his weight behind lobbyist Gery Chico.

De Jesus leads a mostly Puerto Rican church called New Life Covenant, one of the city’s biggest congregations. His mayoral campaign had built support among Latino evangelicals.

“Although I will no longer be on the ballot, I remain committed to fighting [for] the most vulnerable among us and strongly advocating for the poor,” De Jesus told supporters Friday afternoon at a Northwest Side café run by his church.

“I want my Chicago to become a city on the hill, as the Bible says,” De Jesus added. “It’s for this reason that I wholeheartedly support Gery Chico in his bid to become the next mayor.”

But at least some De Jesus supporters could align with the race’s only remaining Puerto Rican, City Clerk Miguel del Valle.

“They know me,” Del Valle said Friday. “They’ve seen me stand side-by-side with the reverend. We’ve been organizers on many issues, including public safety and education. And so, judge me on my record and I think they’ll make the right choice.”

Del Valle said the pastor’s endorsement of Chico didn’t surprise him. A few weeks ago Del Valle acknowledged his campaign had links to an effort to throw De Jesus off the ballot.