A Democratic candidate who was challenging Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri for his seat in 2024 has dropped out of that race and will instead challenge left-wing Democratic Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri’s 1st District, according to a press release from his campaign.
Wesley Bell is the prosecuting attorney of St. Louis County in Missouri — an elected position, equivalent to that of a “district attorney” — and was elected in 2019.
After announcing his candidacy for the Senate against Hawley on June 7, Bell announced on Monday that he would instead run for Bush’s House seat following her commentary about Israel’s ongoing conflict with Hamas.
“Over the last several weeks, as I’ve campaigned around the state, I’ve heard one refrain from Democrats above all else; yes, we need you in Washington, but St. Louis needs you in the House of Representatives,” Bell wrote in a post on X.
In a press conference after announcing his decision, Bell referred to Bush’s position on Israel as a primary reason for switching candidacies.
“I think that we need to make certain that we are providing that effective leadership, not only in our district but in D.C. and on the world stage,” Bell said, according to a video of his press conference posted on X.
“Understand this unique place that we are with the world literally on fire … we cannot give aid and comfort to a terrorist organization, and Hamas is a terrorist organization,” he added.
Bush, a former organizer for Black Lives Matter, is a member of the “Squad,” a group of left-wing Democratic members of Congress who are ethnic minorities.
The group comprises several members who have been accused of antisemitism and banned from visiting Israel, such as Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan’s 13th District, who has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for her rhetorical attacks on Israel for retaliating against Hamas.
“Grateful for all the courageous activists & organizers who are mobilizing protests & civil disobedience actions throughout our country & world — and standing up for peace and humanity,” Bush posted on Oct. 21, referring to pro-Palestine protests across the world after the attacks on Israel, some of which have also expressed antisemitic sentiments.
Bush and Tlaib appeared on stage at a rally hosted by Jewish Voices for Peace calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which has been roundly dismissed by President Joe Biden and other top Democrats as a measure that will benefit Hamas.
Bell’s withdrawal from the Senate race leaves two other Democratic candidates to face Hawley, state Sen. Karla May of the 4th District and Lucas Kunce, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist and candidate for the Senate in 2022. The race is rated “Solid Republican” by The Cook Political Report.