Some of the Squad Members Are Going to Face Tough Primaries
The Squad consists of six outspoken progressive women of color and two outspoken progressive men of color. All of
them are Democrats, or at least caucus with the blue team. The Squad tends to get a lot of attention. In particular,
most of them have been critical of Joe Biden's support for Israel in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack on that country.
Not everyone likes what they are selling and that has led to serious primary fights for some of them. AIPAC is going to
pour tens of millions of dollars into defeating them in primaries, so several of them will have the
of their lives this year. All of their districts are deeply blue, so if they are defeated in the primaries, all that
means is that they will be replaced by a different Democrat. Republicans have no chance of winning any of their
districts. Below is a brief rundown of the eight members and what may await them:
- Jamaal Bowman, (NY-16, D+16) : NY-16 covers a tiny sliver of the northern Bronx and the
lower half of Westchester County. Bowman is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Westchester County Executive
George Latimer. Since Latimer has already won election to the state Assembly from Westchester four times, the state
Senate three times, and countywide as county executive twice, he is very well known in the district and is obviously a
strong challenger. New York has closed primaries, but a group called Westchester Unites is urging Jewish voters who are
registered as Republicans to re-register as Democrats so they can vote for Latimer in the June 25 primary. The group
claims that antisemitism is on the ballot and is also planning a GOTV drive in June. As of Dec. 31, 2023, Latimer had
$1.3 million cash in the bank and Bowman had $630,000. Since Latimer has won nine elections in the area, is very well
known, and has twice as much money as Bowman, he is going to be a formidable opponent. In September, Bowman (falsely)
pulled a fire alarm to disrupt an ongoing vote and force the Capitol to be evacuated. In December, the House voted to
censure him for that. Censures don't mean much and most of the votes came from Republicans, but voters don't know that
and Latimer will surely make a big deal about it. Bowman is Black, Latimer is white, and Westchester is 57% white, 22%
Latino, and 16% Black. Bowman is probably the most endangered Squad member.
- Cori Bush (MO-01, D+27): Bush is being challenged in the Democratic primary by St.
Louis County D.A. Wesley Bell, who, like Bush, is Black. The district, which covers all of St. Louis and some suburbs, is
49% Black. Bell got some good news last week when the Justice Dept. announced it was
Bush for misusing campaign funds on security services. Bush responded by saying she has not used federal tax dollars for
her security. That sounds like a "nondenial denial" to us, since that is not what the investigators are looking at. A
grand jury has been convened in the matter. Since Bell is the county D.A., he is in a good position to talk about
crime—starting with the sitting representative. If Bush is indicted, she's toast, but even if she isn't indicted,
Bell will tout his previous work as a public defender and judge. As of Dec. 31, 2023, Bush had $216,000 in the bank and
Bell had $409,000. Given Bush's pro-Palestinian statements in the past, AIPAC is surely going to help Bell financially
- Greg Cesar (TX-35, D+21): The district connects eastern San Antonio with southeastern
Austin. No Democrat has filed to challenge Cesar in the primary. Since the district is D+21, he is certain to be
- Summer Lee (PA-12, D+8): Lee is being challenged by two Democratic women, borough council
member Bhavini Patel and nonprofit CEO Laurie MacDonald. Lee is Black, Patel is of Indian heritage, and MacDonald is
white. Patel has been very critical of Lee's position on the war in Gaza. Lee is a good fundraiser and had $1.2 million
in the bank on Dec. 31, 2023. Patel had $238,000, while MacDonald entered the race in January. AIPAC is likely to help
Patel in this largely white district near Pittsburgh.
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14, D+28): Ocasio-Cortez is the best-known Squad member and
made news simply by announcing she was running for reelection—and thus not running for the Senate against Sen.
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). AOC has no Democratic opponent, although the filing deadline is 2 months away (April 4).
Given her fame and fundraising ability, she is not likely to get a serious challenger in either the primary or the
- Ilhan Omar (MN-05, D+30): Omar is quite controversial. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)
has introduced a motion to censure her. In Omar's district, that motion will probably help rather than hurt.
Nevertheless, Omar is not out of the woods. She has a serious primary opponent in Don Samuels, a former member of the
Minneapolis City Council. He ran against her in the Democratic primary in 2022 and came within 2,400 votes of beating
her. Now he is better known and will be better funded. Omar's remarks on Israel will be central in the primary. She is
critical of that country's leadership. Samuels has said: "So we have to remember that Israel is our ally. Hamas is, in
fact, a terrorist organization." As of Dec. 31, 2023, Omar had $1.4 million in the bank to Samuels' $347,000, but this
is going to be a very expensive race with money pouring in from all over the country.
- Ayanna Pressley (MA-07, D+35): Pressley has no opponent yet, although the filing deadline
is May 7. Despite the fact that she had only $241,000 in the bank at the end of last year, it is unlikely that anyone
will challenge her for the nomination. Given the D+35 PVI of the district, the Republicans will be lucky to even find a
- Rashida Tlaib (MI-12, D+23): Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in
Congress. Not surprisingly, she is a strong supporter of the Palestinians and opponent of Israel. Very surprisingly, she
hasn't drawn a primary opponent yet, although the filing deadline is April 23. In 2022, Tlaib drew three primary
opponents but won easily, If a serious opponent were yet to enter the 2024 race, that person would not lack for funding,
as LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and others have formed a PAC to support said opponent. No doubt they are beating the
bushes to see if they can flush a possible opponent out.
MI-12 covers Dearborn, which has a large Arab American population. The district also includes about a third of Detroit.
Still, it is surprising that so far no Arab American state senator, state representative, or mayor from the area has come forward to
challenge Tlaib, especially knowing that money won't be a problem.
In short, at least four of the Squad members are going to face a contentious primary with a well-funded
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