Congressman William Lacy Clay Jr. (D-MO), a 10-term representative whose family has held the Missouri first congressional seat since 1969, was ousted by a far-left activist in the Democratic primary on Tuesday evening.
According to The Associated Press, Cori Bush, 44, who challenged Clay in 2018, won in a rematch for the seat that Clay won following his father’s retirement in 2000. Former Congressman William Lacy Clay Sr., the first African American man to serve in Congress from the state of Missouri, served for 32 years beginning in 1969.
“Tonight, Missouri’s 1st District has decided that an incremental approach isn’t going to work any longer,” Bush, an activist who was prominent in Ferguson after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, said on Tuesday evening, reports The New York Times. “We decided that we the people have the answers, and we will lead from the front lines.”
“I was maced and beaten by those same police officers in those same streets,” said Bush. “Six months from now, as the first Black congresswoman in the entire history of Missouri, I will be holding every single one of them accountable.”
In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Clay conceded the race to Bush, saying the congressional seat “belongs to the people of Missouri’s 1st Congressional District and I respect their decision.”
Congratulations to @CoriBush This seat belongs to the people of Missouri’s 1st Congressional District and I respect their decision. It has been my honor and privilege to represent those who supported me and all others. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve. pic.twitter.com/aJFVWBu9Da
— Lacy Clay MO1st (@LacyClayMO1) August 5, 2020
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the self-described democratic socialist, congratulated Bush on her win in Missouri, as did Jamaal Bowman, a left-wing congressional candidate who recently ousted a 16-term Democratic congressman neighboring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) district.
Congratulations to @CoriBush on her primary victory tonight! She is a true progressive who stands with working people and will take on the corporate elite of this country when she gets to Congress. pic.twitter.com/Q3hJGasjXe
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 5, 2020
.@CoriBush‘s win is proof that people – from the Bronx to St. Louis & all across America – are ready to fight for bold, systemic change that meets the moment we’re in.
Can we count on you to join us? Split a contribution between our campaigns right now: https://t.co/Iv8Nb9ptrR
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) August 5, 2020
The New York Times reports that AOC herself declined to endorse anyone running against Clay, who signed onto the multi-trillion-dollar Green New Deal along with dozens of other Democratic lawmakers.
Earlier this year, Congressman Clay received public attention for calling out former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) for openly advertising her availability as a vice presidential running mate.
“At the race tracks, you cannot show up at the winner’s window with loser’s tickets. You haven’t won anything,” Clay told Hank Thompson on the Tangazo! Podcast.
“For you to be out there marketing and putting on a PR campaign in that way, I think it’s kind of inappropriate,” said Clay later in the conversation.
Abrams has denied that she is pitching herself, and instead says she is only answering the questions she receives from the media honestly.