Luis Gutierrez is the big loser in Tuesday’s Illinois primary
By Ray Hanania — After an election, it’s not unusual to weigh the winner’s and the losers. Usually, the winners and the losers are the people who are actually running for public office, the candidates.
In the case of this past Illinois primary, one candidate who “won” his party’s nomination was in fact the biggest loser, U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez in the 4th Congressional District.
Gutierrez easily won his party’s nomination. Like a Middle East dictator, Gutierrez was unopposed in his election. He “won” with 99.9 percent of the vote. Only a few people voted against him by entering write-in candidacies.
But Gutierrez is a loser and was the biggest loser in the March 20 election primary.
Gutierrez, a former Chicago alderman, backed and funded and supervised the campaigns of four candidates. They are:
• Rudy Lozano, who ran for the Illinois House seat in the 21st legislative district, challenging Silvana Tabares;
• Robert Reyes, who ran for the Illinois House sat in the 24th legislative district; who challenged incumbent Representative Lisa Hernandez;
• Raul Montes, Jr., who ran for the Illinois Senate seat in the 12th legislative district, challenging incumbent Illinois Senator Steve Landek (Note: i do media work for Landek);
• Ricardo Munoz, who ran for the office of Circuit Clerk of Cook County, who challenged incumbent Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown.
What’s significant beyond his defeat in all four of these races is the issue of race itself. Gutierrez is Puerto Rican. All of the candidates he backed are Mexican American.
Why is that significant? Well, it’s significant because Gutierrez’s congressional district is half Puerto Rican and half Mexican American. The Puerto Rican population dominates the north end of his odd-shaped district. Mexican Americans dominate the south end of the district.
And that explains Gutierrez’ selfish political agenda.
Gutierrez is intentionally focusing on keeping the Mexican American community divided. That’s why he runs Mexican American candidates against incumbents in Mexican American districts.
By keeping the Mexican American community divided, Gutierrez can preserve his Puerto Rican power in his congressional district. Because if Mexican Americans were united, they could easily oust Gutierrez and elect one of their own in that congressional seat.
There are no Mexican Americans from Illinois in the U.S. Congress. And as long as Luis Gutierrez interferes in Mexican American community politics, keeping them divided and fighting, he will protect his own self-interests.
The March 20 election battles that Gutierrez lost are a precursor to several more elections that Gutierrez is promoting in several West suburban communities including in the Town of Cicero (where I work as the Town spokesman) and the City of Berwyn.
But voters clearly have seen through Gutierrez’s selfish political hypocrisies. They rejected his candidates, although Gutierrez did succeed in dividing Mexican Americans, again, as he has been doing since his election to Congress in the predominantly Mexican American congressional district in the 1990s.
And they could take this one step further and challenge Gutierrez in the November General elections.
Currently, there is no Republican candidate challenging Gutierrez. But there should be. He doesn’t deserve re-election. Gutierrez is a firebrand who is quick to criticize and then even quicker to make a political deal. He spends more time sticking his political nose in other areas of Chicagoland than effectively representing his residents; his district has been ranked as one of the worst when it comes to getting services.
Guiterrez is playing race politics because it benefits him. By keeping Mexican Americans divided, he can retain his congressional seat and allow his family and especially his wife to benefit from his congressional clout.
The truth is that the 4th District was drawn to give Mexican Americans a representative in Congress. As long as they allow Luis Gutierrez to manipulate their politics, that district will never materialize.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and Chicago radio talk show host Sundays at 8 am on WSBC AM 1240 and WCFJ AM 1470. www.RadioChicagoland.com)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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