Democrat Rep. Cheri Bustos announces she won’t seek reelection in 2022 in Illinois

Democrat Rep. Cheri Bustos announces she won’t seek reelection in 2022 in Illinois district that is becoming more conservative and Trump won twice

  • She is one of seven Democrats representing districts carried by former President Donald Trump
  • Bustos was elected by just 4 percentage points in 2020
  • She helped Democrats’ political arm in year where they barely kept the House 
  • 2020 Republican opponent Esther Joy King said Bustos ‘destined to lose’ and announced she’ll run 

Five-term Democratic Rep. Cherri Bustos announced she won’t seek reelection in an Illinois district that former President Donald Trump carried in 2020.

Bustos, who as head of the Democratic campaign arm helped preside over the elections where Republicans won back seats even as Trump lost the White House, was facing yet another tight race. 

She defeated Republican Esther Joy King by just 52 to 48 per cent of the vote. King immediately announced she would once again vie for the seat.

Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois announced Friday she won’t be seeking reelection in her district, which has been becoming more Republican

Bustos, 59, had been considered a lawmaker with potential to move up in leadership.

‘It has been an honor to be a voice for our family farmers, working families, those struggling to afford healthcare and so many more,’ she said in a statement, referencing her central Illinois district.

‘Each time I traveled to Washington, I brought those voices with me to elevate our region and bring real and lasting change.’

Illinois will lose a seat through redistricting next year under the latest count released by the Census Bureau this week. In that scenario, it would have been challenging for Democrats to do much to try to boost her chances by moving more Democratic areas into the district. 

Democrats ‘didn’t have great options for shoring up Bustos’s district,’ wrote Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.

She is the fourth House Democrat to forego reelection – a group that included other lawmakers facing potential defeat or redistricting challenges. 

'I wish her the best!': Republican Esther Joy King released a statement saying 'Cheri was destined to lose'

‘I wish her the best!’: Republican Esther Joy King released a statement saying ‘Cheri was destined to lose’

Her retirement gives Republicans an opportunity in an open-seat in an off-year election where the party in power traditionally loses seats, with Democrats holding a narrow majority.

In her own statement, the Republican, Esther Joy King, announced she was running again – while kicking Bustos on the way out the door.

‘I want to thank Cheri Bustos for her service and I wish her the best going forward. Cheri has always claimed she knew this district well – so she clearly saw what we’re seeing every day: IL-17 was going to make a change in 2022 and Cheri was destined to lose. The people of the IL-17th accomplished this! I’m proud to be part of a movement to bring better representation to the best people I know,’ she said.  

‘Cheri Bustos made the right decision to retire rather than face defeat in 2022, said National Republican Campaign spokesman Mike Berg.


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