PEORIA — U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos was elected Thursday to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The election was reported by Politico and The Hill.
The incoming fourth-term lawmaker from Moline will be tasked with helping Democrats maintain and expand their House majority during the upcoming presidential election cycle.
She defeated two members of Congress from Washington, U.S. Reps. Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene, for the position.
No central Illinois lawmaker has held a higher position in the political-leadership hierarchy for either party in the House since U.S. Rep. Bob Michel, who ran the GOP's campaign arm in 1974 before becoming minority whip and then minority leader.
“I’m humbled to have earned the support of my colleagues to serve as the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee," she said in an emailed statement. “... As Democrats, we are going to keep our focus on getting real results for the American people by lowering their health care costs, raising their wages and cracking down on the corruption we’ve seen from Washington Republicans. While I am hopeful that we can make some progress in this next Congress, we need to win back the White House and the Senate while defending our House Majority to completely deliver on our promise. Failure is simply not an option, we will protect this house.”
Bustos is only the second woman to hold the campaign committee post, after U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., did from 2001-03. The last Illinoisan to hold the post was then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel from 2005-07. Bustos succeeds Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., who has had the job since 2014.
She won majorities against GOP opponents the last two elections in a district won by President Donald Trump. In the just-completed election cycle, Bustos served as the chair of the DCCC's Heartland Engagement committee, working with candidates across the Midwest and Plains states and raised almost $3 million for candidates. She also held a minor leadership position for House Democrats in the current session of Congress as one of three co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee — the only Midwesterner on the Democrats' leadership ladder.