Halstead: Democrats will find ‘very good candidate’ to follow Bustos


Peoria County Democratic Party Chairman Billy Halstead has said the 17th Congressional District is losing a strong supporter with the retirement of U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, but he remains confident the party will find a suitable candidate for it. follow his example.

“She works very hard and I think she did a great job as a congressman,” Halstead said of Bustos, Democrat Moline who announced last week that she would be stepping down from Congress at the end of his current fifth term.

“She works extremely, extremely hard for her constituents. She works hard as an elected representative and she is also a hard worker as a candidate. Since coming to (Congress) she has done a lot of good; she’s been to Peoria a lot and done a lot here. She will be missed.

Halstead said while some replacement possibilities have come to mind, it is still a bit early to focus on specific potential candidates for the 2022 campaign.

“Yeah, I really thought about it because it’s kind of like the president’s job: always think before you replace someone, no matter who it is,” said Halstead. “I have no name at the moment, but you are still thinking about it and discussing it with some of your internal staff to see who will be the best candidate.”

Shortly after Bustos’ announcement on Friday, her Republican challenger last November, Esther Joy King, said she intended to run again in 2022, with plans for an official announcement “in a few weeks. “.

“I want to thank Cheri Bustos for her service and wish her the best for the future. Cheri has always claimed that she knows this neighborhood well – so she clearly saw what we see every day: The IL-17 was going to make a change in 2022 and Cheri was doomed to lose, ”King said in his statement. written.

Halstead said King only moved to the district before the last election in a bid to claim the GOP seat.

“If it’s the same opponent (Bustos) as last time around, I think we can find a very good candidate who could win this seat,” he said. “As we all know, his interest was not the excitement of trying to help voters in the Congressional District.”

The current 17th District boundaries include parts of Peoria, Pekin, and East Peoria, as well as other strongly democratic urban areas such as Rockford and the Quad Cities. But with the 2020 census figures leading Illinois to lose a seat in Congress, Halstead acknowledged that maintaining the Bustos seat will depend on how the districts are redesigned.

“It will all depend on where the lines are,” he said. “We have to see where the lines are for the 17th, and we don’t know if they will push the (current) 18th further south or east or where it will go. We know there will be larger borders in the Chicago area. It all depends on the destination of the borders; it will be interesting to see.

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