Rockford mayor decides against 2022 run for Bustos’s House seat

Greg Nash

Rockville, Ill., Mayor Tom McNamara (D) will not mount a campaign for retiring Rep. Cheri Bustos’s (D) western Illinois House district, he announced on Monday. 

“After much discussion and reflection, I have decided that my heart is here,” McNamara said in a statement. “I want to remain your mayor and will not run for a Congressional seat in 2022.”

McNamara said earlier this month that he was weighing a bid to represent Illinois’s 17th Congressional District, which is in northwestern Illinois. But in his statement on Monday, he said that he wanted to carry on his work as Rockford mayor. 

“I know we have our challenges,” he said. “Unemployment is still high, crime is trending in the wrong direction and many businesses are still trying to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. However, I truly believe we are on the path to the best version of Rockford.”

Bustos, a co-chair of the House Democratic Steering Committee and former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), announced in April that she would not seek reelection next year. 

In a video announcing that she will not seek another term in the House, Bustos cited personal reasons for her decision, noting that she takes time every decade to “reflect and evaluate what my next chapter might bring.”

But her decision also followed on the heels of a disappointing election cycle for House Democrats under her stewardship of the DCCC. The party lost 11 seats in the House in 2020, winnowing down its majority in the lower chamber and putting Republicans within reach of recapturing control in 2022. 

At the same time, Bustos would have likely faced a tough reelection bid next year. While she won her race in 2020 by 4 percentage points, former President Trump narrowly carried her district, which Republicans are poised to target in 2022. 

So far, only one candidate has announced a campaign for Bustos’s seat: Republican Esther Joy King. 

Tags 2022 midterms Cheri Bustos Donald Trump Illinois 17th district Illinois politics Tom McNamara

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