Ayanna Pressley Defeats Rep. Michael Capuano In Massachusetts Primary

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In a major upset, she defeated the 10-term congressman in the Democratic race and is set to become the state’s first black congresswoman.

Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley beat a 10-term incumbent Tuesday to win the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District, an upset building on the momentum for progressives sparked by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in a New York House primary earlier this summer.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) conceded to Pressley on Tuesday evening.

“Clearly the district wanted a lot of change,” he told supporters after his loss. “I’m sorry that this didn’t work out.”

Watch Pressley learn that she won Tuesday night: 

With no Republican on November’s ballot for the district, Pressley is all but guaranteed to make history as the first black congresswoman from Massachusetts. Pressley, 44, already broke barriers in 2009 when she became the first woman of color elected to the Boston City Council.

Capuano first won his House seat in 1998. The 7th District encompasses most of Boston and much of Cambridge.

Facing an uphill battle against Capuano ― a poll for radio station WBUR showed her trailing him by 13 percentage points a month ago ― Pressley campaigned on the need to change the House’s status quo.

“I’ve been told to wait my turn,” Pressley said at a campaign event earlier this year. “I’ve been called a traitor for challenging an incumbent, told simply this isn’t the way things are done here.”

But, she added, “When the challenges we are confronted with are this big, this deep, and growing, I can’t and I won’t wait my turn.”

Those rallying to her cause included Ocasio-Cortez, the political newcomer thrust into the national spotlight when she upended veteran Rep. Joe Crowley, a House Democratic leader, in New York’s June 26 primary. Fresh from her win, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Vote her in next, Massachusetts,” referring to Pressley.

Pressley’s campaign had dispatched staffers to aid Ocasio-Cortez’s get-out-the-vote efforts. And Pressley has called the New Yorker “my sister in change.”

As in Ocasio-Cortez’s race, Pressley was a progressive woman of color challenging a white male lawmaker. Unlike Ocasio-Cortez, who was running against a more moderate Democrat in Crowley, Capuano is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus with a solidly left-leaning legislative record. The race focused less on substantive policy differences and more on whether voters wanted a change in the district. 

Pressley hasn’t accepted donations from corporate political action committees in her campaign. Her platform promotes progressive ideas like Medicare-for-all, debt-free college and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Capuano also touted his years-long support for Medicare-for-all. And he positioned himself as fervently anti-Donald Trump ― refusing to attend the president’s inauguration last year, voting twice in support of impeaching him and frequently calling him out on Twitter. He was also well-known for his progressive views on foreign policy

The Boston Globe, the region’s major newspaper, gave Pressley their endorsement.

“I would like more women to consider government as a mid-career option, women who have been in our classrooms, running companies,” she told HuffPost Partner Studio in 2016. “Having greater parity, both racially and in gender [in government], is vital because solutions are more innovative when you have diversity of perspective and opinion and thought.”



NRCC memo: GOP 'well-positioned' to keep House and prevent 'blue wave'

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) expressed confidence in the GOP’s ability to resist a “blue wave” in the midterm elections, according to a memo sent to House Republican campaigns.

“In spite of history and conventional wisdom inside the Beltway, as it stands today, Republicans are well-positioned to maintain control of the House,” the memo said. 

The NRCC attributes this assessment to various factors, including increased  advertising and fundraising. The memo details $62 million in ad reservations across 11 states and $145 million in fundraising, a record for the group at this point, in a section headlined "The Cavalry Is Coming."

The NRCC also praises Republican candidates and their attitudes. The group praises incumbents as “resilient” and its new candidates as a “historic class of recruits with diverse backgrounds and life experiences.” It also credits candidates’ attitudes that, considering the political climate, they are running “as if they were 10 points down.” 

Lastly, the NRCC praises what it claims are GOP accomplishments compared to the Democrats.

The memo applauds the Trump administration’s tax cuts, which it says led to higher wages and lower unemployment.

It also mentions House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) unpopularity as well as the increased power of the progressive wing of the party and associated positions, such as opposition to ICE.

The memo is a stark contrast to several election prognosticators’ predictions. FiveThirtyEight currently estimates Democrats have a nearly 80 percent chance of taking control of the House of Representatives.

Democrats have significant advantages, according to political analysts, including signs of increased enthusiasm by party members and strong fundraising.

History also shows the party that occupies the White House traditionally loses seats in the midterm elections.


Lindsey Graham Doesn’t Deny Brett Kavanaugh Could Spur Roe V. Wade Reversal

“There’s a process to overturn a precedent, and I think he understands that process,” the GOP senator said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday did little to calm abortion rights advocates who fear Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Graham, who opposes abortion rights, said he believed President Donald Trump’s pick for the high court understands the process for reversing a precedent like the one established by the court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, which made abortion legal in all 50 states.

“Here’s what I hope [Kavanuagh] will do: If there’s a case before him that challenges Roe v. Wade that he would listen to both sides of the story, apply a test to overturn precedent,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The bottom line here is there’s a process to overturn a precedent, and I think he understands that process, he will apply it,” he continued. “If it were up to me, states would make these decisions ― not the Supreme Court. But it is a long-held precedent of the court. It will be challenged over time, and I hope he will give it a fair hearing.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will hold its first confirmation hearing with Kavanaugh, Trump’s second nominee for the Supreme Court.

Democratic lawmakers have spoken out against the nomination of Kavanaugh, a conservative circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would likely shift the Supreme Court further to the right, giving its conservative faction a five-vote majority.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), as well as Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), have expressed concerns that Trump may have picked Kavanaugh as a way to shield himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Kavanaugh has argued that presidents should be exempt from civil suits, criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions. 

“Should a president be allowed to appoint somebody who’s already made it clear that he would give immunity to him should anything come before the Supreme Court?” Booker asked in an interview with Business Insider in July. “So this is a stunning thing to me that is so shocking that we’re going to have to allow this to happen.”





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