CLAYTON, Mo. – St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell is changing the seat he is running for. He is dropping his run for Senate and now running for US Congress. He will be vying for Cori Bush’s US congressional seat. The Democratic primary for that race is in August 2024.

“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,” states Bell. “So, after thoughtful consideration and consultation with respected and committed community and political leaders, I am formally withdrawing as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and announcing my candidacy for the Democratic nomination to US House of Representatives for Missouri’s First Congressional District.”

Bell would have faced Democrat Lucas Kunce and others in a primary race for the state’s US Senate seat currently held by Republican Josh Hawley. A recent Emerson College poll of Missouri voters finds incumbent Republican Senator Josh Hawley with 13 and 10-point leads over his Democratic rivals. Bell was doing slightly better than Kunce in the matchup.

Statement from the office of Rep. Cori Bush:

“Everyone has a right to run for whichever office they see fit, be it a seat for the United States Senate or the United States House. It is disheartening that Prosecuting Attorney Bell has decided to abandon his US Senate campaign to become Missouri’s first Black Senator after less than five months and has instead decided to target Missouri’s first Black Congresswoman.

Congresswoman Bush won this seat to represent the people of St. Louis in 2020 on a bold, progressive vision, and every day since being sworn into Congress she has prioritized the needs and wellbeing of her constituents. Judging by her massive victory last cycle, her mandate is clear. The Congresswoman remains laser focused on working with her Democratic colleagues to prevent MAGA extremists from further eroding our basic human rights and blocking critical resources for our communities, and she will keep pushing forward a pro-St. Louis, pro-democracy, pro-peace agenda. No matter who enters the race and when, that focus will not change.”

Bell, who grew up in north St. Louis County, became the county’s first Black prosecuting attorney in 2018 after defeating seven-term incumbent Robert McCulloch. He won that race during the same election that brought Bush to Washington.

Bush won a second term for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District in 2021. When first elected to her role in 2018, Bush was the first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri. She has recently been criticized for her stance on the war between Israel and Hamas.

Bell said that he has not made a decision about endorsing another candidate in the Senate race. He said that he would continue to run his office while campaigning and reached out to Bush’s office before making this announcement.