Former Chicago school board president Gery Chico picked up a high-profile endorsement in the mayor's race Sunday when U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez backed him to replace Mayor Richard Daley.
The endorsement is key in Chico's attempt to get support from Latinos, who make up nearly a third of the city's population, as he and other candidates vie for the job Daley is giving up because he didn't seek a seventh term. The city's Latino population has grown greatly since 1989 when Daley first took office.
Gutierrez endorsed Chico over City Clerk Miguel del Valle, another Latino candidate, and other candidates, including former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.
"No other candidate has built bridges across racial, ethnic and geographic lines like Gery has. Gery Chico is simply the best candidate to lead Chicago right now," Gutierrez said in a statement.
A lawyer, Chico is also the former chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago.
Gutierrez and Chico have a history. They worked together at City Hall when Chico was Daley's chief of staff and Gutierrez was an alderman.
Del Valle brushed off the Gutierrez endorsement of Chico.
"I disagree with his choice in this case," del Valle said in a statement.
The Associated Press Contributed to this report.