Progressive Defeats Longtime Dem House Incumbent In Boston

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 04: Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilwomen and House Democratic candidate, gives a victory speech at her primary night gathering after her opponent Mike Capuano conceded on September 4, 201... BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 04: Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilwomen and House Democratic candidate, gives a victory speech at her primary night gathering after her opponent Mike Capuano conceded on September 4, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Pressley beat Capuano, a 10-term incumbent, in Massachusetts' 7th District. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
September 4, 2018 10:36 p.m.

Boston City Council member Ayana Pressley (D) has knocked off 10-term Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), becoming the latest progressive insurgent to topple an establishment favorite in a primary this election cycle.

Pressley easily bested Capuano, who conceded not long after polls closed Tuesday evening.

Pressley is the first woman of color ever to serve on Boston’s City Council, and is set to break another barrier, becoming the first woman of color to serve in its congressional delegation.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Her victory marks the latest win for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party this election cycle, and the latest win for a minority and female candidate over an incumbent or establishment favorite, following Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shocking win over Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) earlier this summer and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s (D) recent gubernatorial primary upset of former Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL).

Her background is more similar to Gillum’s than to Ocasio-Cortez’s: She has a long career in Boston politics. And while national progressives including Ocasio-Cortez rallied to her side, she had some strong local institutional support as well, including an endorsement from the Boston Globe.

Pressley conceded throughout the race that there was little policy daylight between her and Capuano, though she did go further than him by calling for the abolishment of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency. But she made her background a major part of the race, highlighting the importance of boosting diversity in the Democratic Party, talking about her own experience with sexual assault, and regularly calling for more “bold, activist leadership.”

Her campaign refrain: “The people closest to the pain should be closest to the power.”

Pressley will now represent the seat that in earlier forms was held by John F. Kennedy and Tip O’Neill.

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but this is life and this is okay. America is going to be okay,” Capuano said in his concession speech. “Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman and Massachusetts will be well served.”

Republicans didn’t run a candidate in the heavily Democratic Boston-based district, and Pressley is all but guaranteed to join the next Congress.

Latest Dc
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: