Quad Cities’ Bustos creates campaign committee to explore challenge to Rauner
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline) filed a Statement of Organization with the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) on Mar. 10, perhaps signaling that a fourth Democrat candidate wants to challenge Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.
Bustos, who according to ISBE records created “Bustos for Illinois,” on Mar. 8, would be considered the most formidable of the Democrats announced as running.
They include wealthy businessmen Christopher Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker, and leftist Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar.
Bustos is the only Democrat in Illinois’ U.S. House delegation not from the Chicagoland area.
She has represented Illinois’ 17th Congressional District since 2013, when she defeated Republican incumbent Bobby Schilling.
Just last month, Bustos told Politico she was ruling out a run for governor, citing her recent election to House Democrat leadership.
The 17th includes the northwest corner of the state, also stretching northeast into Rockford and southeast into Peoria. It includes Galena, Freeport, Sterling, East Moline, Rock Island, Galesburg and Canton.
In 2016, Bustos, a former East Moline City Council member, won re-election to her third term handily, 170,746 (60%) to 113,141 (40%) over Galesburg Republican Patrick Harlan. But her district was one of just 12 held by Democrats that Donald Trump won over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Bustos stands to face a more serious challenge in 2018.
Trump won 47.4 percent of Illinois' 17th Congressional District to 46.7 percent for Clinton, a margin of 0.7 percent. It represented a 16.2 percent swing from 2012, when Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney in the 17th, 57.6 percent to 40.6 percent.
The campaign committee lists Cheri Bustos herself as both chairperson and treasurer. Janica Kyriacopoulous is identified as its bookkeeper.