Massachusetts has traditionally favored incumbents like late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), but a Democratic challenger in the 7th District is looking to become the latest candidate in the country to upend the norm.
On Tuesday, Ayanna Pressley, a Boston City councilor, will be seeking to oust Rep. Mike Capuano, a 10-term congressman, in one of the primaries taking place across the state.
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Capuano was once expected to cruise to reelection, but has faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from Pressley in their primary, though he has largely led in the polls.
Both candidates can boast of strong progressive credentials, so Pressley, 44, the first African-American woman elected to the Boston City Council, has largely hinged her candidacy on her belief that she is better suited to represent Capuano’s increasingly diversifying district.
Her bid comes after primary victories by a number of women and minority candidates, many of them Democratic, who are seeking more prominent roles in Washington and state capitals across the county.
Just last week, for example, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum notched a stunning victory over a slew of challengers in Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, raising the possibility that he could become the state’s first black governor.
And in June, Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old first-time candidate, stunned the political world when she beat out 10-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in her New York primary.
Like the other upstart challengers, Pressley has argued her candidacy offers voters a chance to change the status quo and send a new voice to Washington.
Capuano, on the other hand, has pointed to his deep experience and political connections as a sign that he would command significant influence in Washington if Democrats achieve their goal of retaking control of the House in November.
Whoever takes the nomination on Tuesday will be a shoo-in to win the seat in November. No Republicans entered the race and Massachusetts’ 7th District hasn’t sent a GOP representative to Washington in nearly a century.
Meanwhile, in other races in the state, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) will not be facing any primary challengers, and she is expected to coast to a second term in November amid rising speculation of a presidential bid in 2020. The Cook Political Report rates the race for Warren’s seat as solidly Democratic.