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Chuy Garcia Picks Up Latino Victory Fund Mayoral Endorsement

Image: Jesus \"Chuy\" Garcia, St. Patrick's Day, Chicago
Chicago Mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia waves while walking during the St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago, Saturday, March 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)PAUL BEATY / AP

Chicago mayoral contender Jesus "Chuy" Garcia picked up the endorsement of the Latino Victory Fund Monday, reflecting the growing national interest in his candidacy as he takes on incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The fund, which backs Latinos seeking elected office to increase their numbers, also endorsed Nelson Diaz, who is running for Philadelphia mayor and Lorena González, who is competing for a bid on the Seattle City Council. The fund's board had decided on the 2015 endorsements at a recent board meeting.

"We are proud to endorse Jesus "Chuy" García, whose trailblazing candidacy for mayor of Chicago has energized the Latino community, not only in Chicago, but across the country," Latino Victory Fund president Crstóbal Alex said in a statement. He said García had dedicated his life to serving the city of Chicago "fighting for issues that matter most to the Latino community." García "has shown how one Latino voice dedicated to making a difference can help to create change and empowerment across the board."

Before Monday, Alex had been fielding questions on why the fund had not yet endorsed García, who forced Emanuel into an April 7 runoff.

RELATED: Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia On Chicago, Immigration And His Roots

The fund is part of Latino Victory Project, whose co-founders include businessman Henry Muñoz III and actress Eva Longria. Muñoz serves as finance chair for the Democratic Party and Longoria has been a major donor to President Barack Obama's campaigns. Emanuel was Obama's chief of staff and served in the Clinton White House and has held major Democratic Party positions.

Philadelphia mayoral candidate Nelson Díaz was the first Puerto Rican to be accepted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1973 and has been active in civil rights as well as served in public office. "We look to supporting his bid to become the first Latino mayor of the City of Brotherly Love," Alex said in the news release.

If Seattle candidate Lorena Gonzalez wins, she would be the first Latina elected to the Seattle City Council. Alex said Latino Victory Fund actively worked to recruit her. Her experience as a migrant farmworker with her parents and siblings shows "she fully understands the challenges facing the Latino community and has spent her life advocating for immigrant rights, economic justice and the end to gender discrimination."