In a stunning upset against longtime incumbent Mark Capuano, Ayanna Pressley won the Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district last night, paving her way to becoming the first black lawmaker representing the state in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Video was recorded of the moment Pressley learned of her historic win: her reaction says it all.
Pressley jumps to her feet and gives out hugs to her supporters in the room. “Oh my God,” she says over and over again, her hands hovering in front of her face.
The congressional race is one many pundits had their eye on in recent weeks, as experts try to discern which way the tide will roll during midterm elections in November. Pressley, a Boston City council member, was considered by many an outside shot for the seat, running against 10-time incumbent Mark Capuano. As the Hill reports, there are no Republican candidates running in her district, making her historic election to Congress all but inevitable.
Capuano is now the fourth incumbent to lose a primary election this year, according to the Hill.
U.S. House candidate, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another woman of color who unseated an establishment Democratic candidate, congratulated Pressley via Twitter as news of her victory broke last night.
“Ayanna Pressley and I bonded over running while constantly told it’s ‘not our turn,’ that we ‘weren’t ready,’ ‘good enough,’ or ‘experienced’ enough,” she wrote. “We kept going anyway.”
While many are looking at the midterms as either rebuke or endorsement of President Donald Trump, the 44-year-old progressive candidate made clear in her victory speech that the inequality that pervades Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district predates Trump’s candidacy.
“While our president is a racist, misogynistic, truly empathy-bankrupt man, the conditions which have made the 7th one of the most unequal in America were cemented through policies long before he ever descended the escalator at Trump tower,” Pressley said, referring to the moment Trump announced his 2016 presidential run.
“In fact, some of those policies were put in place with Democrats in the White House and in control of our Congress. Policies that have become so ingrained in our daily lives as to have almost convinced ourselves that there wasn’t anything we could do about them,” she continued.“But as we now know, change can’t wait.”
Pressley’s platform includes Medicare-for-all and for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be defunded. She also opposed a “Blue Lives Matter” bill, which would make assaulting a police officer a federal crime, according to Vox. Capuano voted for the bill.
Watch more from her victory speech below.