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Republican Attorney Challenges Cheri Bustos for IL-17

Esther Joy King

A Republican attorney from East Moline is challenging Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline) for the 17th Congressional District. 

Esther Joy King filed her candidacy paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday. King currently works as an attorney in the Quad Cities, and also runs a small business focused on real estate for economic development.

She holds a J.D. and Masters of Law in Taxation from the Northwestern School of Law. 

"I will promote a policy agenda aligned with the priorities and values of our congressional district. I will raise the standard for constituent services and open communication. Most of all, I will deliver more civility and truly bipartisan efforts to make government work better for the people of the Illinois 17th,” King said in a statement. 

King said she was born homeless and grew up on a converted school bus. She later moved to the U.S.-Mexico border with her Christian missionary parents. 

King also served in the U.S. Army Reserve Corps as a member of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. She's currently serving at the Rock Island Arsenal as a captain.

Bustos has represented the sprawling 17th Congressional District since 2013, after she defeated Republican Bobby Schilling in 2012. The district covers parts of Peoria, the Quad Cities, and Rockford. The largely rural district is drawn to lean Democratic, but voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.  

She is the chairperson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Her tenure in that role has recently been fraught with controversy over a perceived lack of diversity in the committee's ranks among some Democrats. 

In a phone interview Wednesday, King said Bustos represents a status quo she hopes to shake up.