Bustos filing but not running, staffer avows
U.S. Rep. Cheryl Lea "Cheri" Bustos (D-IL) is not running for governor, even though she filed related paperwork recently, her communications director said.
"There really isn’t any news here since she’s not running for governor,” Jared Smith said.
In an email to the Rock Island Today, Smith referred to a CapitolFax.com post that said Bustos filed an official Statement of Organization with the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) “because they had some expenses when she was thinking about a run and decided to file the paperwork.”
With Illinois lawmakers still unable to end the state’s record budget impasse, some have speculated Bustos may have been one of many Democrat challengers who plan to run against Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Part of the 17th Congressional District legislator’s act of filing with the ISBE included her forming the “Bustos for Illinois” committee just months after she racked up 60 percent of the vote in easily dismantling Republican challenger Patrick Harlan.
Still, her district was one of the few held by Democrats that Donald Trump won in November, erasing the 17 percent margin Barack Obama posted in his win over Mitt Romney in the district just four years earlier.
Since Trump took office, Bustos has routinely chided him over his insistence on repealing and replacing Obamacare, telling the Peoria Journal Star that such incessant rhetoric oversimplifies the complex nature of the health care industry and how many people would be affected by such sweeping changes.
A former journalist, Bustos did concede that anyone planning to take on Rauner in 2018 faces an uphill battle.
Still, Bustos told Politico her decision not to run had more to do with her recently being elected to House Democratic leadership and keeping her vow to serve in that capacity.
Bustos is now one of three Democrats running the messaging arm of the House Democratic Caucus, otherwise known as the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. The post is largely seen as a potential launching pad to even more power within the party once the current regime headed by House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) decides to call it quits.
Bustos has represented the 17th District, which includes at least parts of Rockford, Peoria, Galena, Freeport, Sterling, East Moline, Rock Island, Galesburg and Canton, since 2013.
She is listed as the chairperson and treasurer of the “Bustos for Illinois” committee, with Janica Kyriacopoulous listed as the official bookkeeper.
So far, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar of the 47th Ward, and wealthy businessmen Chris Kennedy (nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and son of Robert F. Kennedy) and J.B. Pritzker have also formed exploratory committees and may run against Rauner in 2018.
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