Ayanna Pressley Just Joined a Growing List of Firsts This Election Cycle

September 5, 2018, 1:25 PM UTC

Ayanna Pressley is one step closer to making history.

The Boston City Councillor defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Mike Capuano on Tuesday, winning the Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District.

Capuano had not faced a primary challenge for the district once represented by John F. Kennedy since he was first elected in 1998. Despite Pressley and Capuano agreeing on most major issues, Pressley ran her campaign on a call for change, arguing that she was more attuned to the needs of the predominantly non-white district.

With no Republican on the ballot, Pressley is widely expected to become the Boston area’s new representative. She would also be the first African-American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress, joining a relatively long list of firsts this election cycle.

November’s ballot will feature a growing number of women of color, including Lauren Underwood, who’s running for a congressional seat in Illinois, Jahana Hayes, who would become Connecticut’s first African-American Democrat in Congress, and Stacey Abrams, who is the first African-American woman to be a major party’s nominee for governor in Georgia.

Abrams is joined by two other African-Americans to win the Democratic nomination for governor—Andrew Gillum in Florida, and Ben Jealous in Maryland—a historic development in itself, as the U.S. has only elected two African-American governors in history.

Pressley is also only the second Democratic candidate to push out the incumbent this cycle, following New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who similarly staged a challenge to entrenched incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley.

Similar to Crowley, Capuano was quick to concede, showing support for the newcomer. “Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman,” he said.

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