08/05/2020 12:21 am ET
Progressive challenger Cori Bush defeated Rep. William Lacy Clay in the Democratic primary for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District on Tuesday, adding to the activist left’s winning streak. The primary win in one of the most Democratic House seats in the country assures Bush’s spot in the next Congress.
In remarks to supporters late Tuesday night, Bush characterized her win as the culmination of activist work that began when a white police officer killed Black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014.
“It is historic that this year of all years, we’re sending a Black, working-class single mother … all the way to the halls of Congress!” she said over cheers and chants of “good trouble.”
“Today, the people of St. Louis made a decision ― from all corners of Missouri’s 1st District, our communities have embraced a bold, fearless vision of real change where regular, everyday people like us can feel it. Today, the people won.”
Bush’s success follows an attempt to unseat Clay in 2018, when he won by nearly 20 percentage points.
But this cycle, with more endorsements, cash and name recognition ― a star turn in the Netflix documentary “Knock Down the House” helped ― Bush appears to have caught Clay by surprise. She outspent him on the TV airwaves in the final two weeks of the campaign.
“It’s a seismic shift in St. Louis politics,” said Jeff Smith, a former Missouri state senator who now runs the Missouri Workforce Housing Association. “Clay raised very little for an incumbent facing a serious challenge, and he paid the price.”