Cheri Bustos and Esther Joy King Set To Run for US House Seat

Bustos is widely favored; King touts endorsements from national GOP figures.

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Democrat Cheri Bustos and Republican Esther Joy King are set to challenge each other for a seat in the US House of Representatives. 

They will appear on the ballot in the November general election.

Bustos is a former journalist and healthcare executive who has served in Congress for the last eight years. King is currently a practicing lawyer and serves in the Army Reserves. She has not held elected office before.

Election forecasters are predicting that Bustos will win re-election to her 5th term. The Cook Political Group and FiveThirtyEight both describe the race as “Likely Democrat”. 

Bustos has a towering fundraising advantage over King. At the end of March, Bustos’ campaign fund had $3.3 million on hand, compared to King’s total of $145,000. 

King says on her campaign website that she supports local agriculture and “market-based healthcare”. She has also said that she supports a border wall between the US and Mexico. 

Bustos’ campaign website lists her top priorities as protecting Medicare and Social Security, ensuring affordable healthcare, working on veterans’ issues, and job creation.

King has been appointed to a government job before. She worked in the Illinois Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Technology during the Rauner administration.

In her time in government, Bustos has served in House Democratic leadership; she was appointed as a senior whip in 2015, and is the current chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). 

King was endorsed earlier this year by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), two GOP legislators who many view as contenders for higher office. 

Bustos has been endorsed in the past by Washington figures like former Vice President Joe Biden and the liberal group Emily’s List.

Bustos is considered the favorite; a victory by King would be just the second time a Republican won in the 17th District in 38 years.