Boston Councilor Pressley to Challenge Capuano
By Colin A. Young
State House News Service
BOSTON -- Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley on Tuesday announced that she will challenge fellow Democrat Michael Capuano, giving him his first primary opponent in 20 years and setting up a duel to represent parts of Boston and surrounding communities in Congress.
In a statement announcing she will seek the Democratic nomination for the 7th Congressional District, Pressley said the district needs a congressperson who will be “more than an ally” and will be “an advocate and a champion.”
“Our country is facing a critical moment. While the cruel and dangerous tenor of the national political debate is new, the issues we are struggling to address - income inequality, systemic racism, and lack of economic opportunity - have dogged our nation for years. We have not yet delivered on our nation’s foundational promise of equality,” she said in the statement. “Making progress on longstanding challenges requires a different lens and a new approach. I will be a bold voice in Congress, as an advocate for the entire district and as a champion for opportunity.”
A resident of Dorchester, Pressley in 2009 became the first woman of color elected to the Boston City Council and previously worked for U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II and U.S. Sen. John Kerry.
After serving as mayor of Somerville, Capuano was elected to succeed Kennedy in Congress in 1998.
Capuano first won his seat after surviving a ten-person Democratic primary. In that 1998 race, former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn finished second, followed by George Bachrach, John O’Connor, Marjorie O’Neil Clapprood, Christopher Gabrieli, Charles Yancey, Susan Tracy, Thomas Keane Jr. and Alex Rodriguez.
The 7th Congressional District includes Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, and Somerville, as well as swaths of Boston, Cambridge and Milton.
The district lines were redrawn as a majority-minority district in 2011 when Massachusetts downsized from 10 districts to nine.
Candidates for Congress need to submit nomination signatures to local clerks by May 8, with 2,000 certified signatures required to ensure ballot access.
The primary election this year is Sept. 4 and the state election is Nov. 6.