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Cheri Bustos won't seek second term as DCCC chair after Dems lose House seats

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Representative Cheri Bustos won't seek a second term as chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Committee after Democrats lost seats in the 2020 election, CBS News has learned. House Republicans substantially outperformed the DCCC's expectations, and at least seven Democratic incumbents lost their reelection races, significantly shrinking Democrats' majority in the House.

In a letter sent to the Democratic House caucus, Bustos wrote, "I, too, hoped for better results last week. I am gutted at the losses we sustained. We lost tremendous colleagues and friends who will not return in January." She added that the DCCC would conduct "a transparent after-action-review to better understand why the national polling and modeling environment failed to materialize — not just for House races, but also up and down the ballot."

Many Democrats were surprised by the number of defeats they suffered — moderates Joe Cunningham of South Carolina and Kendra Horn of Oklahoma were among the casualties of this election. House Democrats expressed their displeasure with Tuesday's outcome in a call last week, with moderate Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger arguing that the "defund the police" movement had threatened her own reelection. Her colleague, Democratic Representative Cedric Richmond, echoed that sentiment Sunday on "Face the Nation." 

And House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn, of South Carolina, told CBSN Monday, "'Defund the police' is killing our party, and we've got to stop it."

Bustos herself barely held onto her seat, winning reelection in her Illinois district by just over three points.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised her in a statement after the announcement. Bustos was elected to the position in 2018. 

"It is with great admiration and gratitude that I recognize the leadership of Cheri Bustos as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee," Pelosi said. "Strengthened by the values of the heartland, Chairwoman Bustos shaped a mainstream message, mobilized effectively and attracted the resources to do so. Chairwoman Bustos brought strategic thinking, political astuteness and boundless stamina to Hold The House, with the added challenge of the coronavirus."

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