Daily Review Atlas
Democratic candidate for Congress Cheri Bustos toured downtown and visited seniors in Galesburg on Thursday, speaking to voters about her neck-and-neck race against U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona.

During a stop at the Mary Allen West Tower senior living center, Bustos touted her four-point lead in a poll authorized by her campaign, but cautioned supporters against being overly confident heading into Election Day next Tuesday.

“It’s been a brutal election season, and I think everyone is wondering how it will turn out,” Bustos said. “I’m glad to have a little bit of an edge, but it will come down to voter turnout.”
The 17th Congressional District race is one with national implications and is one of the most competitive races in the county. Both national parties have poured millions into the race and have cited the seat as one of a handful in Illinois needed to take control of the House of Representatives.

National Republican Congressional Committee Deputy Chairman Greg Walden, R-Oregon, told The Register-Mail Wednesday he feels confident Republicans will win in Illinois and keep control of the House. But recently redrawn districts favor Democrats.

A Schilling campaign poll conducted during the same time frame as a Bustos poll shows the Tea Party freshman with a seven- point lead with likely voters. The discrepancy in the two camps’ polls is not surprising, but it does highlight the competitiveness of the race.

On Thursday, Bustos had coffee with working women at Innkeeper’s Fine Roasted Coffee, shopped in small businesses downtown and toured the Carl Sandburg College Annex on Main Street.

The Galesburg stop was the first in her “Right Priorities” tour that took the Congressional hopeful to Peoria and back to Knox College on Thursday night.

Bustos talked with voters at Mary Allen West Tower about the current session of Congress, labeling it one of the most dysfunctional in history. She said she talked to President Barack Obama at a Davenport, Iowa, rally last week, and he asked about the state of her race. Bustos said Obama told her: “I’m proud of you.”

“I want to help President Obama succeed,” she said.

With such a close race, voter turnout initiatives have been huge for both candidates. Residents at Mary Allen West Tower have been registering local voters, as well as doing their best to inform residents about the races.

“We want people to come in and get knowledge of the issues,” said Mary Donald, property manager at Mary Allen West. “She’s running for a seat that has been Democratic for a long time, and it needs to be Democrat again.”

Bustos asked her supporters to help in her cause as much as they can.

“With five days left, we’re asking everybody: Even if you only have a couple hours, that’s what will win this election,” she said.