Liberal Dem Incumbent Congressman Ousted by More Liberal Challenger

‘I will tell you that Massachusetts will be well served…’

Liberal Dem Incumbent Congressman Ousted by More Liberal Challenger

Ayanna Pressley/IMAGE: YouTube

(Stephanie Akin, CQ-Roll Call) Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano conceded defeat Tuesday to his primary challenger, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, in a race that attracted national attention as the latest referendum on the future of the Democratic Party.

With 46 percent of precincts reporting, Pressley led the 10-term incumbent 55 percent to 45 percent, but The Associated Press had not yet called the race for Massachusetts’ 7th District at press time.

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but this is life, and this is OK. America’s going to be OK. Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman, and I will tell you that Massachusetts will be well served,” Capuano said, according to The New York Times.

Capuano touted his credentials as an “unabashed liberal,” but he found himself competing with Pressley over who was the more progressive candidate.


Pressley, who is poised to become the first African-American elected to the House from Massachusetts from the safe Democratic district, netted endorsements from The Boston Globe and the rival Boston Herald. She also had the backing of the state’s attorney general, Maura Healey.

Capuano is now the second Democratic House incumbent to lose a primary this year, following House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley’s shocking defeat to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York in June.

Recent polls had shown Capuano leading, and he was ahead in both fundraising — $1.7 million compared to Pressley’s nearly $900,000 — and in cash on hand, $750,000 to $131,000, through Aug. 15, the end of the pre-primary reporting period.

Capuano also had the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and Massachusetts’s first African-American governor, Deval Patrick. He had an A rating from the NAACP and hosted campaign events with civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.

Hillary Clinton carried the 7th District by 72 points in 2016. The district encompasses Boston’s residential neighborhoods and its surrounding suburbs, with large Hispanic, black and Asian populations, and is the state’s only majority-minority district.

No Republican candidates filed for the race that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Solid Democratic.

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