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Ground game propels Bustos win in 17th District congressional race

Democrats recaptured the seat in the 17th Congressional District on Tuesday. That’s when Cheri Bustos defeated incumbent Rep. Bobby Schilling, (R-IL), by a 53% to 47% margin.

At 10:17 p.m. on Tuesday night, Democrats were dancing for Obama and chanting for Cheri.

Bustos is taking back a congressional seat held by Democrats for nearly 30 years before losing it in the 2010 midterm election.

“The pace that I will keep as your congresswoman will not let up,” she told the cheering crowd at her victory party.

It’s a pledge from a determined campaign to carry over in Congress. It’s a kind of high-energy revolution that’s returning to its roots.

“Politicians are known to talk a lot,” she told reporters a few minutes later. “I hope we did a good job listening.”

While both sides spent millions on the congressional race, it all came down to old fashioned grass roots politics. Democrats devised a successful ground game that paid dividends.

“Every square inch of this county had someone knocking on a door,” recalled Rock Island County Democrats Chairman Doug House.

House used that grit to get out the vote for Bustos and some 30 candidates.

“That sort of interaction and actively involved, engaged candidates, that was the secret for us,” House said.

After Tuesday’s celebration, it’s no longer a secret. That solid support in Rock Island County is calling on traditional values to guide the future.

“We in this room understand how important it is to have representation in Congress that will look out for working men and women,” Bustos said.

Bustos also becomes the first woman to serve in the 17th District.

“We’re very fortunate to have a person of such high standards and moral character,” House said.

Character from the Quad Cities that’s coming to Congress.

“This is it,” she concluded. “Change can’t wait.”