Bustos Will Not Join Illinois Gubernatorial Race

She says with Trump presidency, ‘the stakes couldn’t be higher for our nation’

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said she could accomplish more in Washington than in Springfield. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos has decided against running for Illinois governor in the 2018 election, she announced Monday.

The third-term congresswoman announced that she plans on running for re-election in the 17th Congressional District instead of facing off against incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Newly elected to the Democratic leadership as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, Bustos said she decided she could better serve her constituents in Washington than in Springfield.

“Now that we’ve seen just how reckless, dangerous and divisive President Trump really is, the stakes couldn’t be higher for our nation. With my new leadership responsibilities, I have determined the best way for me to continue getting real results for working families across the heartland is by serving in Congress,” Bustos said in a statement.

Currently in the running for his second term, Rauner has faced endless criticism for his handling of the state’s budget crisis. Illinois has been without a budget for nearly two years due to a stand-off between Rauner and the Democratic legislature.  

Though incumbents traditionally have an electoral advantage during re-elections, Rauner is facing immense unpopularity in a state that holds a sizable Democratic presence. Illinois is one of the few states in the Midwest that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

The strength of the Democratic Party in Illinois has made Rauner’s seat a highly-sought after prize, sparking many a prospective gubernatorial run.

Chris Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy announced his candidacy on Feb. 8.  J.B. Pritzker, billionaire and Chicago venture capitalist, is rumored to be considering a run for Rauner’s seat, but there has yet to be any official word.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.