Ayanna Pressley’s Massachusetts Primary Win Hints at an Exciting 2018 Election Trend
While pundits and politics watchers have been predicting a surge of women in Washington during this year’s midterm elections, Massachusetts House candidate Ayanna Pressley confirmed another exciting trend: Up-and-coming, young, progressive women candidates destroying male incumbents in primaries across the country.
Pressley, who is currently Boston’s first Black city councilor, handily defeated 10-term incumbent Democratic State Representative Michael Capuano in Tuesday’s Democratic state primary. She joins 28-year-old political newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York (whose opponent Joe Crowley was described in June as “the most powerful Democrat in Queens”) in pulling off a stunning win ahead of November’s federal elections. At the state level, plenty of other progressive women candidates have been quietly following suit, from Jillian Gilchrest in Connecticut to Andrea Romero in New Mexico.
Pressley has served on Boston’s city council since 2009, with a mandate to support women and girls. Back in August, she told Brit + Co that her drive to succeed has come from listening to the people around her.
“I’m influenced by my lived experience, but also the people I listen to and work with every day,” she said. “It’s their stories, their struggle, their hardship, their ideas, that I carry with me, and influence and inform how I govern and how I problem-solve.”
The House seat that Pressley is running for has no Republican challenger, which means that her win against Capuano sees her heading to Washington in November. She will the first Black woman to ever represent her home state tin Congress.
In her victory speech, Pressley expressed the importance of new, diverse faces in her party, and why so many fringe Democrats are making a difference. “These times demanded more from our leaders and from our party,” she said. “These times demanded an approach to governing that was bold, uncompromising and unafraid. It’s not just good enough to see the Democrats back in power but it matters who those Democrats are.”
Although Pressley and her opponent shared a number of progressive values, her demand for the abolition of ICE, and her instance that she would bring a “bold activist leadership” to DC may have sealed her fate. In making his concession remarks, Capuano told his campaign team, “I will tell you Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman and I will tell you that Massachusetts is going to be well served.”
(Photo via Scott Eisen/Getty Images)