Democrat Cheri Bustos to retire from Congress

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) announced Friday she won’t seek reelection in 2022.

“As I have rounded each new decade of my career, I’ve taken time to reflect on how I can best serve. That’s how, 10 years ago, I decided to run for Congress,” Bustos said in a video announcing her decision. “And it’s why today, I’m announcing I will not seek reelection after completing this term. It will be a new decade, and I feel it’s time for a new voice.”

Bustos, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairwoman who led her party’s efforts to recapture the House majority in 2018, has faced increasingly difficult political prospects as her western Illinois congressional district has drifted rightward.

Her decision to retire comes after a particularly trying reelection campaign in 2020. She ultimately won that race by a narrow 4-point margin — far less than her nearly 25-point win in 2018. Former President Trump carried her district by about 1.5 percentage points in November.

With decennial redistricting set to take place this year, and Democrats holding the reins of power in the Illinois legislature, state lawmakers could have sought to buttress Bustos’s western Illinois district for the five-term incumbent.

In an interview with HuffPost, which first reported the news of Bustos’s retirement, she said that her decision to leave Congress was not made according to political considerations. Instead, she said that it was time to make a change in her life, and also cited the time she has spent away from her family as a factor.

Her retirement could give Republicans another pickup opportunity in Illinois in 2022, when Democrats will face a major threat to their congressional majorities. The GOP needs to gain only about a half-dozen seats in the House next year to recapture control of the lower chamber.

Redistricting is also expected to complicate things. Illinois is one of seven states that will lose a House seat next year.

And while Democrats hold control of the Illinois state legislature, which will draw the new congressional lines, they will face a choice of whether to try to get rid of one of the state’s five Republican-held districts, or one of its 13 Democratic-held districts.

While they are likely to eliminate one of the GOP-held districts, doing so could put the state’s Democrats in more competitive races by adding Republican-leaning voters to their constituencies.

Updated at 1:19 p.m. 

Tags 2022 midterms 2022 retirements Cheri Bustos Congress DCCC Donald Trump House retirements Illinois

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