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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Boston City Council Member Ayanna Pressley Becomes the Latest New Young Candidate to Win Big

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire  |  Last week, a stunning political victory came out of Florida with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s unforeseen win in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. This week, a political surprise arrived out of Boston.

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At-large Boston City Council member, Ayanna Pressley, 44, has stunned political prognosticators and defeated longtime Congressman Mike Capuano in the Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district. Congressman Capuano, who is well regarded by colleagues, has been in Congress for twenty years.

In less than sixty days, Pressley is to become the first Black U.S. Representative ever elected to Congress from Massachusetts. The seat she will be representing, Massachusetts’ 7th district, was once held by John F. Kennedy.

Pressley’s victory is one in a growing line of stunning upsets by progressive candidates this primary season. Many political observers are citing polls indicating Democrats will flip many House seats in their favor on November 6th.

Jahana Hayes
Jahana Hayes, recipient of the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Award, is the Democratic Party candidate for the 5th Congressional District of the U.S. House of Representatives.
(Photo: Jahana Hayes for Congress Facebook)

Pressley’s victory follows stunning wins by progressives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (over long time Congressman Joe Cowley in New York), Jahana Hayes in Connecticut (replacing retiring Congresswoman Elizabeth Etsy) and Ilhan Omar’s primary victory in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, to fill the seat left open by Rep. Keith Ellison leaving Congress who is running for Minnesota Attorney General.

Today’s progressive wave first appeared in Virginia in 2017 but is now widely regarded as a backlash against the presidency of Donald Trump. Polls show that the congressional generic ballot is +15 points in favor of the Democrats. Those types of poll results are sending a great deal of concern through Republican ranks — and the continuing surprise victories of Democrats of diverse backgrounds are causing even further concern.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district covering parts of the Bronx and Queens in New York City, defeating incumbent Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, in what has been described as the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm-election season. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America

Pressley was not endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.   Her opponent, Rep. Capuano, received notable support from civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) during his campaign. Rep. Capuano is known as a popular progressive who championed many of the causes CBC members support.

At a time when pushback against the Trump administration’s divisive policies towards minorities and immigrants have been featured, Pressley’s vigorous campaign captured the imagination of the nation’s current political climate.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and communications strategist. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke


Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and survivor. Her election to the Boston City Council in 2009 marked the first time a woman of color was elected to the Council in its 100-year history.

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Lauren Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a speaker, writer and political analyst. She appears on “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin every Monday. Lauren is also a frequent contributor to the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. Connect with Lauren by email at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

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