New poll shows ‘Squad’ member Cori Bush badly trailing in primary

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Leading Off

MO-01: A new poll of the Democratic primary in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District finds second-term Rep. Cori Bush in dire shape for reelection. The survey, conducted by Republican pollster Remington Research on behalf of the Missouri Scout, a local tipsheet, finds St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell leading Bush 50-28, while former state legislator Maria Chappelle-Nadal takes 4% and 18% are undecided.

Bush has come under fire for her harsh criticisms of Israel, but she also recently divulged that she’s under federal investigation for her spending on security services. Bell, meanwhile, has kept pace with the incumbent in fundraising and finished 2023 with more cash on hand. He also recently earned the endorsement of the hawkish pro-Israel group AIPAC, which Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel says is just the second time this cycle the organization has backed a non-incumbent in a House race.

Separately, another Democrat who’d reportedly been considering the race, state Sen. Brian Williams, just announced that he would stay out. Missouri’s primary is not until Aug. 6, but whoever wins will be the overwhelming favorite in 1st District, a dark blue seat based in St. Louis.


MD-Sen: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks will begin airing her first TV ads this week, nine months after her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Rep. David Trone, first went up on the airwaves.

Alsobrooks narrates her new ad herself. “The average U.S. senator is 64 years old, worth $16 million dollars” she begins. Gesturing to a digital collage of mostly white male faces, the 52-year-old candidate says, “That’s not me.” The visual juxtaposition makes it unnecessary for her to mention her race: Alsobrooks is seeking to become just the third Black woman ever elected to the Senate.

She goes on to emphasize her understanding of real-world struggles and touts her efforts as county executive to “create jobs, invest in schools, and expand healthcare.” The size of Alsobrooks’ buy has not yet been reported, but AdImpact says that Trone has already spent more than $19 million on advertising.

Candidate filing also just closed for Maryland’s May 14 primary; the state has published a complete list of contenders.

OH-Sen, OH-02, OH-09: Ohio Right to Life, which is often described as the state’s most influential anti-abortion organization, has issued endorsements in several contested Republican primaries.

In the Senate race, the group co-endorsed Secretary of State Frank LaRose and businessman Bernie Moreno, leaving state Sen. Matt Dolan in the cold. Meanwhile, in the open 2nd District, it’s backing state Sen. Shane Wilkin in the race to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Brad Wenstrup. Finally, in the 9th, which is represented by Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, it’s supporting former state Rep. Craig Riedel, despite his abandonment by the GOP establishment after he offered mild criticisms of Donald Trump.


CA-41: Former federal prosecutor Will Rollins has gone on the air with his first TV ads of the cycle, just days after Republican Rep. Ken Calvert launched his own initial foray on the airwaves.

Both ads remind viewers that Calvert, as a freshman congressman in 1994, was “caught with a prostitute and ran from the police.” (For full details on that story, which nearly cost Calvert renomination, check out Tom Gorman’s contemporaneous account in the Los Angeles Times.) The two spots also emphasize Rollins’ work prosecuting the Sinaloa drug cartel. Despite their similar content, though, they each showcase a different tone, with the first featuring a serious-sounding narrator but the second starring a cute dog.

It’s not clear how much Rollins is spending on this ad campaign. AdImpact reported on Friday that he had deployed $28,000 “so far,” but that figure will likely go up. And while the two candidates are likely to face one another in the general election, they will almost certainly pause their TV ad spending after the March 5 primary.

IN-06: Wealthy businessman Jefferson Shreve, who self-funded more than $13 million in an unsuccessful bid for mayor of Indianapolis last year, joined the Republican primary for Indiana’s open 6th Congressional District right before Friday’s candidate filing deadline. Despite his heavy spending, Shreve lost to Hogsett by a wide 60-40 margin.

The state has published a complete list of all candidates for this race and every other contest on the ballot this year.

IN-08: Former Rep. John Hostettler, who represented Indiana’s 8th Congressional District for 12 years until his ouster in the 2006 Democratic wave, unexpectedly joined the GOP primary for his old seat right before the filing deadline.

Once known as the “Bloody 8th” for its propensity to send incumbents packing, Hostettler never won reelection with more than 53% of the vote after unseating Democrat Frank McCloskey during the 1994 GOP landslide. Hostettler was also one of just six House Republicans who voted against the Iraq war, which made him uniquely vulnerable against his Democratic opponent in 2006, a conservative local sheriff named Brad Ellsworth who ran to the congressman’s right.

Ellsworth wound up crushing Hostettler in a 61-39 landslide, though changes were afoot in the 8th. The district had long seen large numbers of ticket-splitting voters who were happy to support Republican candidates for president but would often back Democrats further down the ballot. But the 21st century’s nationwide surge in partisan polarization manifested in southwestern Indiana as well, leading to a decline in crossover voting.

The shift was swift: In 2010, when Ellsworth ran for Senate, Republican physician Larry Bucshon snatched the 8th District back with an easy 58-37 victory and won every subsequent campaign handily. Hostettler, a notoriously poor fundraiser, also tried to stage a comeback that year with his own Senate bid, but he finished third in the GOP primary with just 23% of the vote. (The eventual winner, Dan Coats, swamped Ellsworth 55-40 in the general election.)

Hostettler is not the only candidate from yesteryear to hope that Bucshon’s retirement will offer redemption. Owen County GOP chair Kristi Risk, who nearly beat Bucshon in the 2010 primary, is also running. The best-known current office-holder in the race, though, is state Sen. Mark Messmer, who previously served as majority leader in the Senate.

MI-08: Republican Martin Blank, a trauma surgeon and former police officer, has dropped his bid for Michigan’s open 8th Congressional District, leaving former Homeland Security official Paul Junge as the sole notable Republican looking to flip this seat. Blank raised just $8,000 in the fourth quarter of last year, though Junge fared little better, taking in just $17,000 from donors. However, Junge also self-funded $700,000.

ND-AL: InForum’s Rob Port reports that Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak is “expected” to announce a campaign for North Dakota’s open House seat this week. Ferorchak, a Republican, had declined a bid for governor but tells Port that “the decision is pretty clear” with regard to a congressional run.

NJ-07: Former Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski, who at one point considered a comeback bid after narrowly losing to Republican Tom Kean in 2022, has endorsed former state Working Families Party director Sue Altman for the district he represented for two terms.

NJ-08: LeRoy Jones, who chairs both the Essex County Democratic Party and the state party, has endorsed Rep. Rob Menendez for reelection, a move that the New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein says “likely” means Menendez will earn favorable placement on the primary ballot in the county.

Menendez previously earned the backing of the Democratic organization in his home base of Hudson County, which makes up most of New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District. However, he faces a well-funded challenge from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who outraised him by a wide margin in the fourth quarter.

NJ-09: Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter has dropped her very brief congressional bid after Democratic leaders in all three counties that make up New Jersey’s 9th District backed Rep. Bill Pascrell for another term. Sumter, who had spoken positively of Pascrell and said she’d end her quest if she didn’t win support from the county parties, endorsed the congressman on Saturday.

NY-26: Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has called a special election to fill New York’s vacant 26th Congressional District for April 30. As is always the case in special elections in New York, nominees will be chosen by party leaders rather than by voters in a primary.

Democrats have already selected state Sen. Tim Kennedy as their standard-bearer in the race to succeed former Rep. Brian Higgins, who served this Buffalo-area district since 2005 before resigning earlier this month to run a local performing arts center. Republicans have yet to choose a candidate, but the seat, which voted for Joe Biden by a 61-37 margin, should remain in Democratic hands.

WA-05: The Spokesman-Review’s Emry Dinman has put together a comprehensive roundup of all the possible candidates who could run to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Washington’s conservative 5th District. Dinman’s piece is extensive, so if you’d like to take stock of the emerging field, we encourage you to click through.

There are a couple of developments, however, we’ll note here, starting with the entry of Brian Dansel, who appears to be the first Republican to join the race. Dansel previously served in the state Senate and the Trump administration before winning an unopposed race in 2022 for county commission in tiny Ferry County, which is home to just 7,000 people.

Meanwhile, the most prominent candidate Democrats could hope to field, Lisa Brown, didn’t quite rule out the idea but sounded cool to it. “I am focused on the city and how I can serve the people of Spokane,” said Brown, who was elected mayor last year. In 2018, Brown gave McMorris Rodgers the toughest race of her career but still lost 55-45.

WI-08: Former state Sen. Roger Roth, who unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor in 2022, kicked off a bid to succeed Rep. Mike Gallagher on Saturday, hours after the incumbent announced his retirement. State Sen. Andre Jacque also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lawrence Andrea that he’s considering a bid, while GOP consultant Alex Bruesewitz, who’d mooted a challenge to Gallagher before he announced his departure, reiterated that he’s still thinking about the race.


PA State House: Thanks to the resignation of a Pennsylvania state House Republican, Tuesday’s special election for a Democratic-held seat in the Philadelphia suburbs will no longer determine outright control of the chamber.

State Rep. Joe Adams, who’d previously said he would not seek reelection to the conservative 139th District in northeastern Pennsylvania, announced on Friday that he was leaving office early due to unspecified medical reasons. While his seat, which voted for Donald Trump by a 63-36 margin, will stay in Republican hands, Adams’ departure drops the GOP caucus to 100 members.

Democrats, meanwhile, hold 101 seats, meaning that even if Republicans pick up the 140th District on Tuesday, the House would fall into a tie. (Even though the districts are consecutively numbered, the 140th is in Bucks County in the southeastern part of the state, far from the 139th.)

The prospect of a flip, however, seems unlikely. Democrat Jim Prokopiak recently told the Washington Post that he’d raised $140,000 for his campaign while Republican Candace Cabanas said she’d brought in just $10,000, and the only major outside investment has come on the Democratic side.

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