WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, a moderate Midwesterner who led the House of Representatives Democrats’ campaign arm in a disappointing 2020 election, will not run for re-election next year, she said on Friday.
The Cook Political Report called Bustos’ retirement a “blow” to House Democrats’ 2022 election prospects and noted that she is “one of just seven House Democrats representing a seat Donald Trump carried last fall.”
Republicans are trying to build on their 2020 gains to win back control of the House.
Bustos joins two other Democrats and three Republicans so far in announcing they would leave Congress after next year. In addition, Democratic Representative Tim Ryan is running for the Senate seat now held by retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman.
Bustos, 59, a former journalist who has represented a northwestern Illinois district in Congress for a decade, said in a statement that it was time to “reflect and evaluate what my next chapter might bring.”
The statement said nearly two-thirds of all the legislation she had introduced in the House had been bipartisan.
As a Democrat from Trump country, Bustos worked with Democratic candidates from similar areas in 2018 to get more moderates elected – helping to give Democrats control of the House of Representatives that year.
When Democrats elected Nancy Pelosi speaker of the House in 2019, a handful of moderate Democrats voted for Bustos instead.
But in 2020, as head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Bustos and other party leaders steered the Democrats to an unexpectedly poor result in the House, even as Democrat Joe Biden won the White House.
Instead of gaining ground, Democrats saw their House majority pared and it currently is just six seats. Bustos resigned as DCCC chair after the election.
Bustos herself won re-election by just four points compared to a 24-point margin in 2018.
Illinois will lose a seat in the 435-member House based on the results of the 2020 census.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Richard Cowan, Steve Orlofsky and Sonya Hepinstall)