Boston the latest upset as progressive wave sweeps Democratic party
Sep 09 2018 by Lorena Waters
City Councillor Ayanna Pressley beat US Representative Michael Capuano by a stunning 59-41 margin to secure the Democratic nod to represent a district including most of Boston, and is poised to be the state's first black woman in Congress as she faces no Republican challenger. "Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman, and MA will be well served".
Pressley is virtually assured of becoming the first black woman elected to Congress from MA in November, and her victory gives Democrats' progressive wing another win in their effort to pull the party leftward.
A Boston city councillor's historic defeat of a 10-term Democratic incumbent in the US Congress was the latest sign of the rising clout of minority candidates in the party, many of whom are angry at Republican President Donald Trump.
Even so, the implications of the contest go far beyond Boston and the cultural changes that are roiling the political waters in a riding once represented by congressman John F. Kennedy and former House speaker Thomas (Tip) O'Neill Jr.
As the first black woman elected to the Boston City Council, she prioritized issues of gender and economic inequality. Compare that to Rep. Joe Crowley, the Democrat that Ocasio-Cortez beat. However, Pressley had the endorsement of popular state Attorney General Maura Healey.
Her victory comes on the back of 28-year-old self-professed socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's shock win in NY over Rep. Joe Crowley, also a 10-term incumbent, in June. Capuano may have had the name recognition, but Pressley had the momentum.
Capuano was endorsed by prominent MA figures, including former Gov. Deval Patrick, the state's first black governor.
Those issues, she said, include gun violence, racism, domestic abuse and the wide economic disparity in the 7th district. John Lewis of Georgia.
When Massachusetts lawmakers drew new House districts after the last federal census, they tapped the 7th District to be the first in Massachusetts where minorities make up a majority of the voting population. Hillary Clinton carried the seat by a 71-point margin in 2016, making it one of the most heavily Democratic House seats in the country.
"I thought if she could get 40 percent here then it wouldn't be enough of a firewall for him to overcome her Boston lead", said Green. Stephen Lynch and Bill Keating easy victories over progressive challenges while ousting longtime Boston legislators Jeff Sanchez and Byron Rushing.
Centrist Rep. Richard Neal defeated Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, an African-American Muslim and civil rights lawyer.
The incumbent, who has held the seat for nearly 30 years, had a heavy financial advantage, raising $2.5 million through August 15 to Amatul-Wadud's $113,000. Shortly after her win, Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Pressley.
"Ours was truly a people-powered, grassroots campaign launched just 195 days ago that dared to do what Massachusetts Democrats aren't supposed to do", Pressley said, according to State House News Service.
Voters in MA were choosing between incumbents and fresh faces in a Tuesday primary in which several members of the state's all-Democratic U.S. House delegation face spirited challenges. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a relatively conservative Democrat, won over Brianna Wu, a video game developer.