Black Lives Matter Activist Cori Bush Defeats 10-Term U.S. Rep William Lacy Clay in Missouri Democratic Primary

Black Lives Matter Activist Cori Bush Defeats 10-Term U.S. Rep William Lacy Clay in Missouri Democratic Primary
Image:Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

In what is starting to seem more like a pattern than an outlier, Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush has defeated 10-term incumbent William Lacy Clay, the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s first Congressional District, in the state’s Democratic primary.

Bush, who was a fixture in Ferguson after the police killing of Michael Brown in 2014, is backed by the Justice Democrats, a progressive PAC founded by Bernie Sanders alums that aims to unseat establishment Democrats in favor of progressive candidates. In 2018, they endorsed Ro Khanna, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar. In 2020, former teacher and Justice Democrat candidate Jamaal Bowman ousted longtime establishment Democrat Eliot Engel in his primary. And now, there’s Cori Bush.

Bush’s victory is particularly impressive, considering Clay’s district has essentially run in the family. His father, local civil rights icon William Lacy Clay Sr., was elected to Congress in 1968 and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. But Bush’s campaign painted Clay as out of touch with the district he represents, which encompasses part of St. Louis.

“I had no title, no name, came out of the Ferguson uprising and people know who I am across the world,” Bush told the New York Times earlier this month after Clay accused her of being a “prop” for the Justice Democrats. “Not because I took money from some group — none of that. It is because I stayed true to a message of change for real people. He doesn’t understand that, because he doesn’t understand fighting for people.”

Bush challenged Clay in 2018 and lost; her campaign was documented in the 2019 documentary Knock Down the House, which also covered the campaigns of women running for office for the first time, including Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, and Paula Jean Swearengin. (Of the four profiled, only Ocasio-Cortez won her election.)

Meanwhile: Kris Kobach, who you might remember for his incredible thirst for deportation, lost his primary for an open Senate seat in Kansas. This is technically bad news for Democrats, since Republicans will have a better shot at keeping the seat with winner Roger Marshall. Still, fuck Kris Kobach.

And as of this morning, with 78 of 492 precincts reporting, Rashida Tlaib was well ahead of challenger Brenda Jones.

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