The 17th Congressional District will have a new representative for the first time in a decade.
Democrat Eric Sorensen will face off against Republican Esther Joy King to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos of East Moline, who announced in April 2021 that she would not seek reelection after her fifth term in office.
King is making a second run for the seat. She lost a close campaign against Bustos as the 2020 Republican nominee, with 48% of the vote to Bustos’ 52%.
King is a JAG Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and practices law in East Moline, focusing on real estate.
Sorensen was a TV meteorologist in Rockford for 11 years and in the Quad Cities for seven years. He would be the state’s first openly gay congressional member if elected.
The redrawn 17th District includes metros of Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, the Quad Cities and Rockford.
King has campaigned on issues including inflation and crime – blaming Democratic leadership for inflation – wanting to rein in government spending to slow down the economy, she said during a candidate debate in early October at Bradley University.
Sorensen has campaigned on inflation, reproductive rights and climate change. On inflation, he has spoken about employing multiple mitigation measures, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with drug companies and sales tax breaks.
Both have spoken about the need to grow job opportunities in the district as well as the importance of the Farm Bill.
On abortion, Sorensen said abortion is health care, and the government should not be telling people what they can or can’t do with their bodies. King said she’s against abortion based on her faith and approves of Roe v. Wade being overturned. She also criticized the state’s abortion access laws under Gov. JB Pritzker, but does support exceptions in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother.
Election analysts have widely pegged the race as a toss-up, and millions have been spent on targeted campaign ads.
More than $7 million has been spent by super PACs, national party committees, and other noncandidate committees to advocate for or against the candidates.
King has raised nearly $4.6 million and spent $3.8 million, while Sorenson has raised $2.5 million and spent $2.2 million.