Cori Bush, a progressive activist and veteran of the racial justice protest movement, won a House seat in Missouri, becoming the state’s first Black woman to represent the state in Congress, according to CNN projections.
Bush defeated newcomer Republican Anthony Rogers by a 79% to 19% margin in the race to represent Missouri’s 1st congressional district, which covers St. Louis and parts of St. Louis County. She was expected to win the general election after her upset in the Democratic primary over incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay — a Black lawmaker who, along with his father former Rep. William Clay Sr., had represented the district for 50 years.
“This is definitely a night to remember,” Bush said in a speech on Tuesday.
Bush, a nurse and a pastor, became an organizer and protest leader after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. She ran on a progressive platform, championing policies including Medicare-For-All and the Green New Deal.
“As the first Black woman and also the first nurse and single mother to have the honor to represent Missouri in the United States Congress, let me say this: To the Black women, the Black girls, the nurses, the essential workers, the single mothers, this is our moment,” she said.
Her win is a victory for the progressive left, coming as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — known as the Squad — won reelection. She also joins fellow progressive Jamaal Bowman in New York, who won his House race, according to CNN projections.
This was Bush’s third run for Congress. She ran for US Senate and lost in 2016, and unsuccessfully challenged Clay for his House seat in 2018.
This time, she raised more money and benefited from heightened visibility, securing the backing of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the youth-led Sunrise Movement and other leftist and progressive leaders. The primary race also took place during a national uprising against racial injustice after the killing of George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected people of color.
“To all the counted outs, the forgotten abouts, the marginalized, and the pushed asides. This is our moment,” Bush wrote on Twitter. “We came together to end a 52-year family dynasty. That’s how we build the political revolution.”