Democrats Fear Rep. Cori Bush May be Next ‘Squad’ Member to Lose Congressional Seat

by Xara Aziz
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s (D-N.Y.) decisive primary defeat on Tuesday is raising alarms for another progressive “Squad” member, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.).

Similar to Bowman, Bush is a prominent critic of Israel, facing challenges from scandals and a strong centrist opponent backed by AIPAC.

Bowman received backlash for triggering a Capitol Hill fire alarm, while Bush is under federal investigation for allegedly misusing campaign funds to pay her husband as part of her security team. Bush denies any wrongdoing but has had to allocate a large portion of her campaign funds to legal fees ahead of her August 6 primary.

Just hours after Bowman’s 17-point loss, the pro-Israel group Democratic Majority for Israel released internal polling, obtained by Politico, showing Bush in a statistical tie with her opponent, local prosecutor Wesley Bell.

This is a significant change from Bush’s 17-point lead in another internal poll from January, indicating a highly competitive race. Independent polling is limited, but one survey in February showed Bell leading by 22 points after news of Bush’s investigations emerged. Bell has the backing of AIPAC, DMFI, and the Jewish Democrats, who also supported Latimer.

Unlike Bowman, Bush hasn’t received endorsements from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) or his top deputies, Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.).

These endorsements are expected soon, according to two House Democratic leadership sources. Aguilar mentioned at a press conference, “It’s not surprising that we’re endorsing our Democratic members.” Jeffries declined to comment on endorsing Bush but hinted he might address the issue at his weekly press conference on Thursday.

Jeffries has prioritized supporting incumbents as part of his leadership strategy. His team endorsed Squad Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Summer Lee (D-Pa.), who face less severe primary challenges, as well as other vulnerable colleagues like Reps. Rob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Shri Thanedar (D-Mich.). However, while Jeffries backed Bowman, he did not actively campaign for him.

Several House Democrats, including two progressives, told Axios they are not surprised leadership has delayed endorsing Bush, describing her as a somewhat isolated member of the Democratic caucus.

“She doesn’t have the kind of relationships even that Bowman had… so I can imagine that it’s been difficult for folks in leadership to figure out how to be supportive of her,” one progressive told Axios.

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