DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos to Step Down Amid GOP Gains in House

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) / Getty Images
November 9, 2020

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) announced Monday she plans to step down from her role and will not seek reelection. 

Bustos's decision follows a turbulent post-election phone call last week in which House Democrats clashed over their failure to expand their majority and secure the Senate, as pre-election polling had predicted. During the phone call, Bustos said she was "furious" that a blue wave projected for Tuesday's election "never materialized." 

"Something went wrong here across the entire political world," Bustos said. "Our polls, Senate polls, gov polls, presidential polls, Republican polls, public polls, turnout modeling, and prognosticators all pointed to one political environment—that environment never materialized."

Other House Democrats jumped in to point fingers at each other and squabble over the results. Virginia representative Abigail Spanberger blamed leftists' anti-police and pro-socialism messaging for her near loss. Florida representative Debbi Mucarsel-Powell cried over her loss and over her name being mispronounced. 

Heather Caygle, a Politico reporter who covers House Democrats, first tweeted Bustos's announcement Monday afternoon. Bustos barely held on to her seat on Tuesday, which Caygle said was also a factor in her decision. 

Bustos has been under fire for diversity issues during her tenure as DCCC chairwoman. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and others criticized her last year for promoting a minority outreach official who, the Washington Free Beacon found, made homophobic and racist comments against Latinos on Twitter. 

Republicans flipped 10 House seats on Tuesday, while 50 of the DCCC's 51 Red-to-Blue program candidates lost. Republicans and Democrats have each secured 48 senators, with Georgia's two races heading into January special elections. The results followed months of polling predicting that Democrats could secure both chambers.