Ayanna Pressley Is Poised to Become Massachusetts’ First African-American Woman In Congress

“We have arrived, change is coming and the future belongs to all of us.”

Ayanna Pressley Is Poised to Become Massachusetts’ First African-American Woman In Congress

Massachusetts' Ayanna Pressley just took one important step closer to making history. The Boston City Councilor cinched a stunning victory over incumbent Representative Michael Capuano in the Democratic primary on Tuesday evening, positioning herself to become the state's first-ever African-American congresswoman

Pressley's win marks a shocking shift in the state's politics in more than ways than one. Prior to her victory, Capuano held the position for 10 straight terms and hadn't faced a primary challenger for the district since first being elected in 1998. While he and Pressley shared similar progressive views on many issues, the latter overcame her underdog status by running a campaign based on a broader call for reform. "Change can't wait," her slogan read. 

The sense of urgency in her campaign seems to have paid off. Pressley — who became the first African-American woman elected to the Boston City Council in 2009 — will now be running unopposed in the November election, making her the likely new representative for the Boston area. 

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"We have together ushered in something incredible," Pressley said to supporters on Tuesday night, according to The New York Times. "People who feel seen and heard for the first time in their lives, a stakehold in democracy and a promise for our future. That is the real victory, that is bigger than any electoral victory. And I want to thank you all for being foot soldiers in this movement and for ushering in this change."

Pressley's triumph comes as a growing number of women and minorities are entering the political sphere, spurred to action by the events of the past election. The current election cycle has already seen several firsts. In August, first-time candidate Jahana Hayes won the Democratic House primary in Connecticut and could become the state's first African-American Democrat in Congress, should she be elected in November. Meanwhile, Georgia nominee Stacy Abrams has also made history as the first African-American woman to be a major party's nominee for governor in the state.

Pressley is the second Democratic candidate to oust the incumbent in recent months, following New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who similarly scored a shocking upset over Rep. Joe Crowley.

"Change isn't waiting any longer," Pressley declared in her victory speech "We have arrived, change is coming and the future belongs to all of us."

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