Ayanna Pressley defeats Michael Capuano in MA U.S. House race

Casey GreeneSep 06, 2018

Boston City Councilmember Ayanna Pressley made history by defeating 10-term progressive Democratic Congressmember Michael Capuano.

In nearby Connecticut, Jahana Hayes is on track to become that state's first black woman to win a congressional seat if she prevails in November. Capuano - along with the entire MA congressional delegation - supports the "Blue Lives Matter" bill, making assaulting a police officer a federal crime. Just a third of the population is white, with black, Hispanic and Asians constituting most of the other two-thirds. For example, her campaign promoted a "listening-only hearing" on gun violence that she put on while serving in local government. "Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good Congresswoman and MA will be well served".

"This is a fight for the soul of our party and the future of our democracy", Pressley told reporters.

In challenging Capuano, who had not faced a primary challenge since he was first elected in 1998, Pressley argued that she was more attuned to the needs of residents of the state's only congressional district where a majority of residents are not white.

They moved to Brooklyn, and Pressley attended Boston University from 1992 to 1994, but left school to work full time at a hotel to support her mother. Shortly after her win, Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Pressley.

Pressley, 44, is a Chicago native, former community organizer, and former political aide who worked for Democrats such as Senator John Kerry.

In his concession speech, Capuano observed that "the district wanted a lot of change" and said Pressley "will make a great congresswoman".

Pressley has always been a Democratic star in the making who's been closely watched since her 2015 speech at an EMILY's List event headlined by Hillary Clinton - but, with no members of Congress retiring, had no path to the national stage. She beat the incumbent congressman handily.

Pressley's surprise win is the latest in a series of victories for progressive candidates, many of whom are young or minority or both, and another sign that Democratic women are making major strides in political representation in 2018. Meanwhile, Reps. Stephen Lynch and Bill Keating fended off progressive challenges by wide margins to clinch the Democratic nomination for the November election.

In the general election, Ms. Pressley will be heavily favored in the 7th Congressional District, which covers parts of Boston and its heavily Democratic suburbs and that backed Hillary Clinton with 84 percent of its vote in the 2016 presidential race.

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