Ayanna Pressley will become the first black representative elected by Massachusetts. (Source: AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
(RNN) – Ayanna Pressley, the latest in a wave of diverse upstart candidates upending entrenched Democratic politics, defeated 10-term Massachusetts Congressman Michael Capuano in their primary race on Tuesday night.
She garnered almost 59 percent of the vote in a commanding win for the state's 7th Congressional District seat, which represents much of Boston.
Running in the heavily liberal district where she won’t have a Republican opponent in November, she will become the first black representative elected by Massachusetts.
Pressley is a 44-year-old Boston City Council member who has worked for Massachusetts political heavyweights such as Rep. Joe Kennedy III and former Sen. John Kerry.
She said “we have together ushered in something incredible" in an address to supporters, The New York Times reported.
Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley defeats incumbent Massachusetts congressman Michael Capuano in Democratic primary. Pressley, "It seems like change is on the way." pic.twitter.com/E7rO7TtYtS
She ran on a slogan of "Change Can't Wait" and argued she would better represent the voice of a fast-diversifying district where people of color outnumber whites.
Pressley presented a detailed policy platform, dubbed the "Equity Agenda", which argued for improved access to public health, stronger support for assault survivors and better protections for immigrants, among a number of other causes.
Her personal history, as a child abuse and rape survivor who said in speeches, “The people closest to the pain should be closest to the power," also deeply resonated.
“Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman, and I will tell you that Massachusetts will be well served,” Capuano said in concession, according to The Times.
Pressley was born in Chicago, largely raised by a single mother, and moved to Boston in the early 90s to attend Boston University.
Her victory echoes that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old socialist who stunned veteran Congressman Joe Crowley in New York, and Rashida Tlaib, set to become the first Muslim congresswoman after winning the race for John Conyers’ vacated seat in Michigan.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "Congratulations to my sister in service."
The district Pressley will now represent was once was also once represented by John F. Kennedy.
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