House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) only has a slim margin of control over the House of Representatives, and now one of her most loyal Democratic members is looking to bail out at the end of the current term.
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), who was first elected in 2012 and recently served as head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), has announced that she won’t be seeking reelection for another term in 2022, Breitbart reported.
The congresswoman announced her decision to not seek reelection in a video posted to social media on Friday.
Today, following a decade of service in Washington, I am announcing that I will not seek reelection in Congress after completing my fifth term. pic.twitter.com/eWQYJADyyA
— Cheri Bustos (@CheriBustos) April 30, 2021
Bustos noted that it was a “new decade” that deserved a “new voice” representing her constituents in Congress. She also made it clear that she would serve out the remainder of this term and hinted at a continued future in politics, albeit without any details.
Targeted for defeat by Republicans
Bustos’ district has been trending toward Republicans in recent election cycles, with former President Donald Trump winning it in both 2016 and 2020, Breitbart reported. In fact, Bustos barely hung onto her seat in the 2020 election.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), counterpart to the DCCC that Bustos used to chair, targeted the Illinois congresswoman as a vulnerable Democratic incumbent who was ripe to be defeated in the 2022 midterm elections.
In a statement in response to the news of her impending retirement, NRCC spokesman Mike Berg said, “Cheri Bustos made the right decision to retire rather than face defeat in 2022.”
District could be carved to help Democrats
The Washington Examiner noted that the congresswoman had very nearly lost the House majority for Speaker Pelosi in the 2020 elections during her tenure as chair of the DCCC, given that Democrats had been predicted to expand their majority but instead barely held on for one of the slimmest margins of control in history.
The congresswoman’s retirement also throws an interesting curveball into the redistricting process in Illinois following the Census-driven reapportionment of representatives that saw the state lose a seat in Congress in the upcoming term.
With Bustos out of the way, the Democrat-controlled state legislature, which was already expected to engage in partisan gerrymandering while redrawing the district map, could carve up Bustos’ district in a way that shifts the predominately Democratic areas to other safe Democratic districts while forcing Republicans to fight among each other for the redder areas of that district.
Bustos is now the third Democratic member of the House to announce upcoming retirement, joining Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Filemon Vela (D-TX).