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Bustos unseats Schilling to win 17th District race

Bustos: ‘I’m honored that people ... felt that I’m worthy’

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 1:34 a.m. CDT
(AP Photo/The Dispatch, Todd Mizener)
Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., hugs Rock Island County GOP Chairman Susie Carpentier following his concession speech Tuesday night in Rock Island. Democrat Cheri Bustos defeated Schilling.

STERLING – Democrat Cheri Bustos said Tuesday that she has no regrets about the campaign that won her election as 17th District’s congresswoman.

After a hard-fought, often contentious battle, Bustos, a former East Moline alderwoman, unseated freshman U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona.

In Whiteside County, with 98.36 percent of precincts reporting, Bustos won 11,194 votes, or 52.8 percent, to Schilling’s 9972 votes, or 47.04 percent.

During her campaign, Bustos, who was endorsed by Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, focused on jobs and what she pledged to do to keep them in the district. Sensata Technologies, which is closing its doors and moving the jobs to China, became a focal point.

The 17th District, redrawn by a Democratic Legislature to favor Democrats, includes all of Whiteside County.

“We feel great,” Bustos said after delivering her victory speech. “I feel honored that people felt I was deserving of their support.”

Asked what her plans are now that she has been elected, Bustos said they are “no different than what we’ve talked about before.”

“I think that what we’ve talked about ... working men and women, middle class, never losing sight of why we’re running, work hard for the economy, for Medicare, for Social Security ... being there for future generations,” she said. “That meant something to people.”

Schilling spokesman Jon Schweppe said Schilling would announce his plans for the future in the upcoming week. He did not comment further.

“Let’s let everything settle down,” Schweppe said in response to a request for comment.

The race was one of the most closely watched in the country. Millions of dollars were spent by both camps and by national political groups.

Bustos spoke with Schilling after she learned of her victory.

“We said we’ll work together on this transition,” she said. “I thanked him during my speech for running a vigorous campaign.”

Bustos intends to organize an economic summit featuring “the best minds in the district” to start coming up with solutions to economic problems, she said. She also will begin calling members of Congress to get to know them better.

She plans to keep her home in East Moline while working in D.C. and in the district. “Making sure you represent people in this region is of utmost importance,” she said.

“We are very pleased with how we ran our campaign,” she said. “I’m proud of every member of our team. We worked very hard; I’m honored that people of the region felt that I’m worthy.”

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