Black Lives Matter Activist Cori Bush Defeats Incumbent Rep. Lacy Clay in Missouri Primary

August 5, 2020 Updated: August 6, 2020

An activist with the Black Lives Matter movement trumped longtime Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) in a Democratic congressional primary on Tuesday.

Cori Bush, 44, lost to Clay in the 2018 midterms but emerged triumphant this time around.

“We’ve been called radicals, terrorists. We’ve been dismissed as an impossible fringe movement, but now we are a multiracial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-faith mass movement united in demanding change. In demanding accountability. In demanding that our police, our government, our country recognize that black lives do indeed matter,” Bush said in a victory speech.

“It is historic that this year, of all the years, we’re sending a black, working class, single mother, who’s been fighting for black lives since Ferguson, all the way to the halls of Congress,” she added later. “The people of St. Louis made a decision. From all corners of Missouri’s first district, our communities have embraced a bold, fearless vision of real change.”

The single mother was present during most of the protests and riots in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown.

Bush was endorsed by socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Her policy proposals include universal health care, the Green New Deal, raising the minimum wage, and reforming the police. The Black Lives Matter movement is pushing for defunding and abolishing police departments.

Epoch Times Photo
Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) (C) during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 12, 2017. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

Clay or his father have held the seat representing Missouri’s 1st Congressional District for 50 years.

Clay in a statement congratulated Bush.

“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,” he said in a statement.

The Justice Democrats, which regularly targets longtime incumbents, backed Bush. The group supported Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez before the bartender shocked Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in 2018.

In a statement to news outlets, Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandra Rojas said Bush was the fifth challenger backed by the group to unseat an incumbent.

“She organized a movement through pepper spray and rioting police in the streets of Ferguson. Her tenacity and unbreakable pursuit of justice is desperately needed in Congress today,” Rojas said.

Anthony Rogers, a libertarian candidate, won the Republican primary.

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