Ayanna Pressley just won the Massachusetts Democratic primary in an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-like upset
As the 2018 midterm primaries continue, women, people of color, and progressive candidates have repeatedly come out on top. And this was once again the case in the Massachusetts Democratic primary last night, September 4th. Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley won her race in an upset that mirrored Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s historic win in New York.
According to MassLive.com, Pressley earned 58.6% of the vote in the race to become the Democratic nominee for the 7th Congressional District House of Representatives seat. CBS News notes that Pressley’s opponent, Representative Michael Capuano had served in the U.S. House of Representatives for almost 20 years. Capuano is known as one of the most liberal members of Congress, and he has reportedly supported progressive policies like Medicare for All.
The state’s 7th District (in Boston) is the only one with more people of color than white people, and Pressley—a black woman—campaigned on the platform of bringing a fresh face into the mostly white and male Massachusetts political sphere. In an August 31st interview with HelloGiggles, she said that she and Capuano would differ most in the way they led.
"This is the most progressive seat in the country, so to have a progressive voting record is not a profile in courage, that is baseline doing your job and keeping your job," she said. "We have got to build different muscle in these times. A reliable vote is not enough, and we have got to define leadership as more than how someone votes or how many years they’ve served."
With no Republican challenger facing Pressley in the November general election, she’s set to become the first black Congress member from Massachusetts. Pressley is not new to politics, though. The New York Times notes that in 2009, she became the first woman of color elected to Boston City Council. A survivor of sexual assault, she used her time in office to created a committee advocating for girls and women.
After Pressley’s primary victory, Ocasio-Cortez, who also unseated a long-time incumbent in her primary, tweeted her congratulations.
We’re thrilled to see young, progressive women of color like Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez defeating their primary opponents. It seems like change may be on the horizon.