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Moderate Democratic U.S. Representative Bustos to retire next year By Reuters

© Reuters. Democrats debate one article of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, a moderate Midwesterner who helped lead the House of Representatives Democrats to a disappointing 2020 election result, will not run for re-election next year, she announced on Friday.

Bustos joined two other Democrats and three Republicans so far in announcing they would leave the 435-member House after next year. The November 2022 congressional elections will see a spirited contest with Republicans trying to build on their 2020 gains to win back control of the House.

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.

Bustos’ Illinois district voted for former President Donald Trump, a Republican, in 2016. As a Democrat from Trump country, she worked closely with Democratic candidates from similar areas in 2018 to get more moderates elected – helping to give Democrats control of the House of Representatives.

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 2020 election. She won her own re-election race by just four points last year, after winning by 24 points two years earlier. Her retirement could open up a chance for Republicans to win the seat next year. Illinois will lose a seat in Congress next year based on the results of the 2020 census.

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