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Five And Done: Cheri Bustos Won't Run For Another Term in 2022

Cheri Bustos
Tim Shelley
Peoria Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, says she will not seek a sixth term in Congress next year.

"As I turn every corner on each decade of life, I take time to reflect and evaluate what my next chapter might bring. That’s how, 10 years ago, I decided to run for Congress. And it’s why, today, I am announcing I will not seek reelection after completing this term," Bustos said in a statement sent by her campaign.

The congresswoman said it's "time for a new voice."

Bustos defeated Republican Esther Joy King by just 12,000 votes - a narrower margin than in other recent races.The 17th Congressional District Bustos represents has long been a Democratic stronghold, but has been drifting right in recent years. Bustos won her most recent race in her rural district mainly on the strength of higher Democratic turnout in the urban areas of her district, including Rockford, the Quad Cities, Peoria, and Galesburg.

Bustos was first elected in 2012 after defeating Tea Party Republican Bobby Schilling after the 17th Congressional District was redrawn. The district is slated for redrawing again ahead of the 2022 election. Illinois Democrats steer that process with their supermajorities in both houses of the General Assembly and control of the governor's mansion.

Bustos also was chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, but she stepped down after House Democrats lost several seats in the 2020 election, despite the party winning back the White House.

King sent out a statement shortly after Bustos' announcement, saying she plans to run again next year.

"I am running for Congress in 2022 because I know that the residents of this district deserve so much better than what the liberal elites have been serving them up in Washington," King said in a written statement. "We need a battle-ready leader. We need a fighter who won’t back down. Someone who knows that the residents of the 17th district matter more than Washington DC special interests."

As for Bustos, she said she's not ready to announce her next chapter yet.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.