Justice Democrats, a progressive group supporting left-wing challengers in Democratic primaries, scored another upset victory Tuesday in Missouri, where two-time House candidate Cori Bush narrowly defeated long-time Congressional Black Caucus member William Lacy Clay.
Bush defeated Clay with nearly 49 percent of the vote to Clay’s nearly 46 percent in Missouri’s 1st congressional district.
“They counted us out,” Bush said in her victory speech Tuesday night. “They called me – I’m just the protestor, I’m just the activist with no name, no title, and no real money. That’s all they said that I was. But St. Louis showed up today.”
Bush, a St. Louis-area nurse who is also black lost in the same primary match-up in 2018 by double digits. With the help of big-name endorsements such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and a well-funded campaign the second time around, the left-wing insurgent candidate has now ousted a 10-term Democratic incumbent whose family represented the district for more than 50 years.
Bush was among one of the first candidates backed by Justice Democrats when the organization kicked off in 2017 propelling freshman Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to victory in New York bringing down Congressman Joe Crowley two years ago, who was the chairman of the House Democratic caucus. The group also helped New York educator Jamaal Bowman pull off an upset victory bringing down Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel in the June primary.
Bush, an ordained minister and Black Lives Matter activist will go on to face Republican activist, Anthony Rogers in a district that hasn’t been held by a Republican since 1949.