U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos cruised to victory Tuesday, earning a fourth term representing Illinois' 17th Congressional District.
The East Moline Democrat took 61.8 percent of the vote in defeating former real estate broker Bill Fawell of Galena. The tally was 139,461 votes to his 86,218.
In addition to her victory, Bustos could celebrate the fact that the Democrats had recaptured a majority in the House.
"Having a Democratic majority means we can stay focused on what the people here at home want done in Washington instead of dealing with all of the gridlock," Bustos said.
She has three top priorities on her agenda that she believes reflect the most important issues for people in the 17th District.
"We will work to address the rising cost of health care and prescriptions drugs, rebuild our country's infrastructure, and clean up the massive self-healing in Washington with an ethics reform package," Bustos said.
Fawell wasn't able to mount much of a challenge, allowing Bustos to spend time helping other Democrats with their campaigns. She was featured in a Nov. 4 CBS Evening News segment for her mentoring efforts to give the Democrats a majority in Congress.
Fawell had made a previous run in the 17th District in 2014, under the Libertarian label. Although Fawell made this run as a Republican, he did it without the support of the party. In August, many state party leaders publicly renounced him, citing social media posts and reports in which Fawell appeared to support 9/11 conspiracy theories and called the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings a possible “false flag” event.
Bustos is co-chairwoman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and serves on the House agriculture committee and transportation and infrastructure committee.
The congresswoman announced Oct. 1 that if Democrats regain a majority in the House she would make a bid for assistant Democratic leader, the fourth highest party leadership role in the House. In her leadership role in the Democratic Caucus, she has played a key role in efforts to reshape the party's image.
Bustos went into the race as one of 13 Democrats representing districts President Donald Trump carried in 2016.
Illinois' 17th Congressional District covers Carroll, Fulton, Henderson, Henry, JoDaviess, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, Stephenson, Warren and Whiteside counties. Parts of Peoria, Tazewell and Winnebago also are included.