Bustos outlined her vision for protecting and expanding the new Democratic majority to deliver real results for the American People

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) announced that she is running to Chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  Bustos is currently the only Midwesterner and Frontliner at the elected Democratic Leadership table. In a letter sent to colleagues this afternoon, Bustos outlined her vision as Chair of the DCCC, which would build upon her experience as someone who defeated a Republican to win her seat and has increased her margin of victory in every election. During the 2018 election, Bustos won by 24 points - the largest margin of victory in any of the Trump-districts held by Democrats.

With an incoming freshman class of at least 54 Democrats, 33 of whom are women and at least 19 who will come from Trump-districts, protecting the majority is a top priority for House Democrats heading into 2020.

Before the election, Bustos had announced her intent to run for Assistant Democratic Leader if Democrats won the majority. However, because current DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján has clearly earned his seat in leadership and he is running for that position, Bustos decided to bring her vision for incumbent protection to the DCCC.

“As we enter into a new era of divided government, one of our top priorities must be protecting and expanding our new Democratic Majority,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “I'm running for this leadership position because, as someone who comes from a district that voted for Donald Trump, I live and breathe this every day of my Congressional career. The most effective way I can improve the lives of hardworking Americans is by helping secure our new Democratic Majority. Having worked extremely hard to help win races across the Heartland, I view this as an opportunity to continue my work while bringing the voice of both a woman and Midwesterner to the leadership table.”


CBS Evening News: Democrats look to take the House, Featuring Congresswoman Bustos campaigning with Rep-Elect Lauren Underwood

Time Magazine: Democrats’ Path to Winning the House Runs Through the Midwest

HuffPost: Democrats Need Strong Candidates for Local Office. Cheri Bustos is Finding Them. The Illinois Congresswoman started a boot camp for training women and people of color to run for office. It’s working.

Politico Magazine Profile: The Secret Weapon Democrats Don’t Know How to Use. Cheri Bustos of Illinois has lessons about how to win in Trump territory. Are Democratic leaders listening?


Below is the text of the letter Congresswoman Bustos sent to her colleagues outlining her vision for leading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. You can click here for a signed copy of the letter as well.

November 9, 2018

Dear Colleague,

 For the last four years, Chairman Luján has worked relentlessly to deliver the majority and, on Tuesday, all of that work paid off. After that historic win, he announced he would run for Assistant Democratic Leader, a race that I entered a month ago. Today, I am withdrawing from that race because I believe Chairman Luján deserves a higher-level seat at the leadership table.

 Today, I am also announcing I am running to be the next Chair of the DCCC.

 One of the greatest challenges we face in the next Congress is defending and expanding our majority. To succeed, the next DCCC Chair must demonstrate three qualities:

1: Possessing a deep understanding of what it takes to win and hold tough districts;

2: Being an effective communicator; and

3: Having a proven ability to fundraise.

I have the right experience and skillset to deliver real results for the Caucus in this role.

As someone who represents a district that President Trump won, I understand the unique challenge of winning and holding purple or red districts. In fact, on Tuesday, I earned the largest margin of victory of any Trump-district Democrat in the nation. As we prepare in 2020 to defend as many as 33 House seats on Trump turf, this is something I already live and breathe every day of my Congressional career.

As the Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee for the last two years, I worked closely with my fellow Co-Chairs, Hakeem Jeffries and David Cicilline, to develop the “For the People” closing argument that helped deliver our majority. Additionally, as a former corporate communications executive tasked with rebranding a multibillion-dollar health system across multiple states, I know how to message effectively on a national scale.

As the only Midwesterner at the elected leadership table, I believe it's important our caucus reflects the full diversity of our party. This is not something new to me. I created my own training program for candidates at the state and local level called “Build the Bench,” which HuffPost described as “a boot camp for training women and people of color to run for office” and that “it’s working.” Our party’s strength comes from our diversity, which is why I will continue to ensure we have more diverse staff and vendor hiring at the DCCC.

Last cycle, I raised $4.5 million and gave and raised nearly $3 million to the DCCC and to more than 100 candidates and members of Congress. I exceeded all of the financial goals set for me by the DCCC. Building on my role as Vice Chair for Recruitment and Co-Chair of Red to Blue during the 2016 cycle, I served as Chair of Heartland Engagement at the DCCC this cycle, where I spent countless hours recruiting, mentoring, fundraising and traveling to support candidates across 12 states – 15 of whom helped deliver our Majority on Tuesday.

We won the House by working together; that’s exactly how we’ll protect it. That’s why I have a vision for operating the DCCC as an inclusive organization. By working with the entire Caucus to develop best practices and by establishing a collaborative environment to shore up our incoming and most vulnerable members, we’ll achieve success once again in 2020.

Thank you for your friendship. I look forward to speaking with you very soon. I hope to earn your support.

Kind Personal Regards,

Cheri Bustos