In a primary election shocker, Cori Bush defeated long-time Congressman Lacy Clay and has Missouri’s 1st Congressional seat in the bag.
Bush is a progressive Democrat and activist who attempted to unseat Clay back in 2018. She used momentum from her work with the Black Lives Matter movement that sparked in Ferguson, where Michael Brown was killed by police officers. At the time however, Bush lacked the funds and name recognition to beat Congressman Clay and lost by 20 percent, which was the closest anyone had come to defeating Clay. On Tuesday, Bush won the primary by around 4,400 votes.
Both of Bush’s campaigns centered around the need to fight for working-class people and enact change on issues of police brutality, healthcare, and student debt. Bush will face off against a Republican in the November election, but she is projected to almost certainly win the seat as the district is deeply blue. Bush will be the first Black woman to represent the state of Missouri in Congress and was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Justice Democrats, a coalition that aims to elect progressives to Congress.
During her victory speech, Bush said, “It is historic that this year of all years we’re sending a Black, working-class, single mother to Congress.” Cori Bush has openly discussed being a single mother of two, and emphasized in her campaign how too people in her district, including herself, have struggled to make ends meet. She continued with, “We decided that we the people have the answers, and we will lead from the front lines.”
This victory is especially momentous as it marks the defeat of not only a 10-term incumbent but of an incumbent whose family has held the seat since 1969. The toppling of this dynasty of democrats in favor of progressive candidates is not an isolated case. The defeat of Lacy Clay is a marker of the split in the Democratic party, as the progressive left wins more and more seats with the message of change for the working class.