Ayanna Pressley is all but assured of becoming the first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, the latest example of the Democratic Party’s embrace of diversity and liberal politics as the recipe for success in the Trump era.
The 44-year-old’s upset victory against longtime Democratic Rep. Michael Capuano in Tuesday’s primary sets the stage for Pressley to represent an area once served by Tip O’Neill and John F. Kennedy. Her win comes at the tail end of a primary season in which Black politicians have made a series of advances.
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. And Black politicians in three states — Florida, Georgia and Maryland — have won the Democratic nomination for governor, a historic turn for a country that has elected just two Black governors in U.S. history.
Greeting voters at a Boston polling station, Pressley spoke of “the ground shifting beneath our feet and the wind at our backs.”
“This is a fight for the soul of our party and the future of our democracy,” she told reporters. “This is a disruptive candidacy, a grassroots coalition. It is broad and diverse and deep. People of every walk of life.”