New DCCC chair says “we can’t just rent” newly flipped districts

By Caitlin Huey-Burns

/ CBS News

Rep. Cheri Bustos on women in Congress

Newly elected House Democrats shouldn't get too comfortable, the incoming chair of the House Democrats' campaign arm is warning.

"We go into the next two years thinking we can't just rent these spots, these congressional districts. We have to own them," Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos told CBS News, regarding the 40 House seats Democrats flipped in the November midterm elections.

"You better have a darn good work ethic in a job like this," Bustos said. "You show people back home that they are who you report to…you work hard and go to every corner of your congressional district and use these two ears and this one mouth proportionally."

Bustos, who cruised to re-election in November by 24 points in a district won by Donald Trump in 2016, was recently elected by her colleagues to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Democrats had a successful November — not only taking back the House of Representatives, but also making strides in areas where Mr. Trump won two years ago. Thirty-one Democrats in the next Congress will represent districts that also voted for the Republican president, including Bustos.

That feat also represents a big challenge in 2020, when the presidential contest will help to shape races lower on the ballot and where splitting the ticket between candidates of different parties may be less common. The Democratic nominee, Bustos says, has to be pitch perfect.

"Absolutely it matters," she said. "In a presidential cycle, who our nominee is matters a great deal because everybody who is 18 years or older who goes to the ballot box knows it's the presidential [candidate] at the top of the ticket."

Asked who that person might be, with over two dozen Democrats so far said to be interested in entering the presidential primary in the next year, Bustos responded that she wants "somebody who understands congressional districts like mine."

"Sixty percent of the towns I represent are 1,000 people are fewer, and 85 percent are 5,000 people or fewer. A lot of folks in smaller towns and rural America and the heartland feel they have been left behind way too long," Bustos said. "I want to make sure our nominee for president understands how hard farmers work….I get the farm bureau endorsement cycle after cycle because I show up on the hog farm or the dairy farm or the chicken farm….my votes reflect that I'm making sure they know I'm fighting for them."

First published on December 14, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Caitlin Huey-Burns

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a political correspondent for CBSN

Record number of women to serve in Congress

Nov 13

Key takeaways from the 2018 midterm elections

Nov 7

New DCCC chair says “we can’t just rent” newly flipped districts

The 2020 presidential nominee – whoever that is – needs to understand districts like mine, Rep. Cheri Bustos told CBS News

0M ago

Mick Mulvaney to be acting White House chief of staff

President Trump made the announcement on Twitter

6M ago

House Dems want answers from DHS IG about 7-year-old girl's death

Senior House Democrats ask for an investigation into death of a 7 year-old migrant girl​ in custody of Customs and Border Patrol

30M ago

Scott Walker signs bill to limit successor's power

AP: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a sweeping package of Republican-written legislation Friday that restricts early voting and weakens the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general

51M ago

Special counsel files information about Michael Flynn's questioning by FBI

D.C. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered Mueller to turn over by Friday at 3 p.m. material regarding Flynn's questioning by the FBI

1H ago

Chris Christie won't be the next White House chief of staff

The former New Jersey governor said he has asked the president to no longer keep him in consideration

2H ago

Chief Justice of California Supreme Court leaves Republican Party

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has re-registered as a nonaffiliated voter, citing Brett Kavanaugh

5H ago

Jared Kushner under consideration for White House chief of staff

President Trump said Thursday he's considering five potential candidates

7H ago

Tesla CEO Elon Musk: The "60 Minutes" interview

Musk opens up to Lesley Stahl about Twitter, pot, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Model 3 and Tesla

Dec 9

Study examines effects of screen time on kids

"60 Minutes" goes inside a landmark government study of young minds to see if phones, tablets and other screens are impacting adolescent brain development

Dec 10

Ryan Speedo Green: From juvenile delinquency to opera stardom

After a childhood of anger and violence, the 32-year-old now commands the stage around the world

Dec 9

Remembering President George H.W. Bush

Former presidents and others look back on the life of President George H.W. Bush, who passed away Friday

Dec 2

Paradise Lost: Inside California's Camp Fire

"60 Minutes" reveals what firefighters saw as the deadliest wildfire in California history destroyed the town of Paradise

Dec 2

The chaos behind family separation at the border

A "60 Minutes" investigation has found the separations that dominated headlines this summer began earlier and were greater in number than the Trump administration admits

Nov 26

Robots to the rescue after nuclear disaster

Seven years after a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused a massive nuclear meltdown in the Daiichi Power Plant, Lesley Stahl reports on the unprecedented cleanup effort

Nov 25

"To Kill a Mockingbird" comes to Broadway

With Aaron Sorkin writing the adaptation and Jeff Daniels starring as Atticus Finch, the Harper Lee classic hits the stage

Nov 26

Naloxone: The life-saving drug more Americans need

With over 115 Americans dying a day in the opioid epidemic, naloxone has become a necessity for first responders, doctors and everyday people

Nov 18

Right Rail – Video Promo – Listing

Trump was in room during hush money talks

New information ties President Trump to his campaign's efforts to silence women who claim they had sex with him more than a decade ago. CBS News sources confirm the president was in the room when his then-attorney Michael Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker discussed paying hush money in August of 2015. Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws in connection with hush money payments. Weijia Jiang reports.

10H ago 03:14

Tesla CEO Elon Musk disputes labor complaints

Musk says the charges are "utter nonsense" and that he'd know because he was "literally living in the factory."

Dec 9 00:49

Legal impact of Trump hush money talks

CBS News sources confirm the president was in the room when his then-attorney Michael Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker discussed paying hush money in August of 2015. If Donald Trump wasn't president of the United States, could he have been indicted alongside his former attorney, Michael Cohen? Paula Reid joins "CBS This Morning" to break down the legal implications.

10H ago 01:39

Tip helped thwart possible Ind. shooting

Police in Indiana credit a phone tip for helping thwart a potential mass shooting at a school. The tip sent police racing to Dennis Intermediate School in Richmond Thursday. Officers exchanged gunfire with a teenager before the teen killed himself. Dean Reynolds reports.

10H ago 02:34

Nationwide bomb threats turn out to be hoaxes

Federal investigators are trying to figure out who made a wave of bomb threats across the U.S. and parts of Canada. It turned out to be an elaborate extortion hoax. The email threats demanded $20,000 payments in bitcoin. Jeff Pegues reports.

10H ago 02:34

Sunday: Miller, Klobuchar, Davis, Potter

Stephen Miller, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Lanny Davis, and Trevor Potter to appear Sunday on “Face the Nation”

18M ago

New DCCC chair says “we can’t just rent” newly flipped districts

The 2020 presidential nominee – whoever that is – needs to understand districts like mine, Rep. Cheri Bustos told CBS News

0M ago

Mick Mulvaney to be acting White House chief of staff

President Trump made the announcement on Twitter

6M ago

House Dems want answers from DHS IG about 7-year-old girl's death

Senior House Democrats ask for an investigation into death of a 7 year-old migrant girl​ in custody of Customs and Border Patrol

30M ago

Gary Sinise brings Over 1,000 Gold Star kids to Disney

Over 1,000 Gold Star children who have lost parents in the military got a holiday trip to Disney World, thanks to actor Gary Sinise and his foundation.

2M ago 01:38

Cops can invoke "stand your ground," Florida Supreme Court rules

Broward County sheriff's deputy Peter Peraza invoked the defense in the 2013 killing of a black man carrying an air rifle

42M ago

2018 additions to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry

"The Shining," "Jurassic Park," "My Fair Lady" and "Brokeback Mountain" are among the classic films to be preserved for future generations by the Library of Congress

27 photos

The timeless photojournalism of Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington

"War and Peace in Liberia" is a new exhibition in New York City celebrating the work of two acclaimed war photographers, who were both killed in conflict zones

15 photos

Yemen's humanitarian crisis

The nation's civil war has claimed at least 10,000 lives, and generated the world's worst humanitarian crisis

15 photos

Notable deaths in 2018

A look back at the esteemed personalities who've left us this year, who touched us with their innovation, creativity and humanity

136 photos

Biggest stories of 2018, ranked

This year was a doozy. These were the top stories on CBSNews.com

55 photos

CBS paid actress $9.5M after she accused "Bull" star of harassment

Eliza Dushku was written off the show after she confronted Michael Weatherly about his behavior, according to a New York Times report

6H ago

U.S. college student stabbed to death in Netherlands

Sarah Papenheim, 21, a musician from Minnesota who went to study psychology in Rotterdam, was reportedly killed by her roommate

3H ago

Girl, 7, dies in Border Patrol custody

The girl started having seizures hours after being taken into custoday, and Border Patrol records said she "reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days"

6H ago

Jared Kushner under consideration for White House chief of staff

President Trump said Thursday he's considering five potential candidates

7H ago

Teen who killed himself at school reportedly had vowed revenge for being bullied

Law enforcement received a 911 tip about the suspect and alerted school officials to lock down the campus, likely saving lives

8H ago