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Latino State News

Humboldt Park Pastor Looks to Join Chicago Mayoral Race

Perhaps the most interesting of all who have joined the Chicago mayoral race is Pentecostal Pastor Wilfredo de Jesús.

De Jesús, who is nicknamed Choco, is the controversial leader of the New Life Covenant Church in Humboldt Park. The church is one of the world’s largest Assemblies of God congregations and packs thousands of worshipers into the Roberto Clemente High School auditorium during six weekly services.

Sources say the pastor’s supporters have quietly begun to collect signatures to get him on the February ballot, as he attempts to gain support from other evangelical churches such as fellow Humboldt Park congregation, River City Community Church.
Daniel Hill of River City, promoted de Jesús’ campaign during his service on Sunday.

What de Jesús has yet to attempt is to elicit support from the heavily Latino organizations where he stands a very good chance of collecting votes. With these votes he could potentially go head-to-head with the other three North Siders: City Clerk Miguel del Valle, former Chicago Alderman Manny Flores, and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez.

De Jesús is also a commissioner on the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals, and already has support from former Alderman Billy Ocasio who left his 26th Ward seat last year to work for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

Ocasio is actually a member of de Jesús’ New Life Covenant church and pushed for de Jesús to be his replacement though Mayor Daley took the unusual step of rejecting an outgoing alderman’s recommendation for his replacement.

Daley’s decision came after LGBT leaders expressed concern over de Jesús’ possible appointment due to him leading a group of clergy members in 2008 to try to derail a planned Chicago high school for LGBT students.