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Illinois Democrat and former DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos won’t seek reelection

Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, the former chair of the House Democratic campaign arm, announced Friday she will not seek reelection in 2022. Her announcement comes days after apportionment numbers released by the Census Bureau showed that her state would lose a Congressional seat during redistricting.  

In an announcement video, Bustos said, “It will be a new decade, and I feel it is time for a new voice.”

“As for my tenure in Congress, my mission was never defined by the people in the corridors of Washington, but by the people in our communities, who I’ve been lucky enough to meet every day,” she said. 

Bustos’ northwest Illinois district voted for former President Trump by slim margins in 2016 and 2020. The congresswoman won her 2020 race by 4%, her tightest race since she was first elected in 2012. 

She served as chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2020 election cycle. However, after House Democrats retained control but lost 15 seats to Republicans, Bustos decided to not seek a second term as chair

Illinois is one of three states that saw its population decrease this decade and is one of seven that will lose a congressional seat. 

Democrats control the state legislature and governor’s mansion and are expected to redraw Democratic areas near St. Louis into competitive Republican-held seats like Rodney Davis’ in the 13th District or Adam Kinzinger’s in the 16th.

Thirteen seats in the state are currently held by Democrats, compared to five  by Republicans. 

The National Republican Congressional Committee targeted Bustos’ seat in 2020 and put her on their 2022 list as well. 

“Cheri Bustos made the right decision to retire rather than face defeat in 2022,” said NRCC spokesman Mike Berg  

Her 2020 opponent, Esther Joy King, is thinking about jumping into the race, though the district’s lines are still unclear. King raised $139,159 in total contributions from January through March of this year, according to a Federal Elections Committee report. 

Bustos is the third House Democrat who isn’t seeking reelection. By comparison six House Republicans have said they will retire or run for another office.

Bustos, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, was a contender to serve as agriculture secretary in the Biden administration. “As for the next chapter, well, it will always be my goal to think big and deliver results. And in time, I’ll share more about where that will take me,” she said. 



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