Ayanna Pressley to become first black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress after routing Democratic incumbent in shock primary win

Activist uses victory speech to attack Donald Trump as 'a racist, misogynistic, truly empathy-bankrupt man'

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 05 September 2018 09:42 BST
Ayanna Pressley delivers her victory speech at the IBEW Local 103 in Dorchester, Massachusetts
Ayanna Pressley delivers her victory speech at the IBEW Local 103 in Dorchester, Massachusetts (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images)

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Ayanna Pressley beat a 10-term incumbent to win the Democratic nomination to represent Boston in the US Congress.

As the 44-year-old activist’s opponent, Michael Capuano, conceded and she faces no Republican on the November ballot, Ms Pressley is poised to become the first African American woman Massachusetts has elected to Congress.

She used her victory speech to attack Donald Trump as “a racist, misogynistic, truly empathy-bankrupt man.”

On Tuesday night, she told her supporters: “It is time to show Washington, DC, both my fellow Democrats who I hope will stand with us and Republicans who may stand in our way ... change is coming and the future belongs to all of us.”

Ms Pressley’s victory echoes that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat a 10-term incumbent in the June primary for the New York City congressional district.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a selfie of both of the women together on Tuesday night, and wrote: ”In June, I won my primary. Tonight, she won hers. Here’s to November.”

Meanwhile, a Pressley campaign insider posted a video showing the candidate’s reaction the moment she learned she’d won.

Mr Capuano appeared subdued as he told supporters he did everything he could to win re-election.

“Apparently the district just is very upset with lots of things that are going on. I don’t blame them. I’m just as upset as they are, but so be it. This is the way life goes,” he said.

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

“This is a fight for the soul of our party and the future of our democracy,” she said while campaigning in the district on Tuesday. “And a reliable vote is not good enough.”

Mr Capuano is considered one of the most liberal members of the Massachusetts delegation, and Ms Pressley acknowledged she had few major policy quarrels with him, but said the district “deserves bold, activist leadership”.

Carl Berstein says Trump White House is a horror show

Other Massachusetts Democratic incumbents managed to hold off against their challengers.

The secretary of state, William Galvin, 67, who has held office for 24 years, easily beat another Boston City Council member, 34-year-old Josh Zakim.

Richard Neal, the 69-year-old ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, who is now in his 15th two-year term, held off a challenge by 44-year-old lawyer Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, a Muslim who has been endorsed by Our Revolution, a progressive group which grew out of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Democratic presidential campaign.

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