Almost six years ago, Cori Bush stood at the front lines of Ferguson protests over the police shooting death of Michael Brown. Now, she stands to be the first Black Lives Matter activist to win a congressional seat.
On Tuesday, Bush won the democratic primary for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District by defeating long-time congressional representative, Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO). Bush lost against the 10-term congressman in 2018, but nabbed the victory on the heels of a resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests after the death of George Floyd.
“We’ve been called radicals, terrorists, we’ve been dismissed as an impossible fringe movement — that’s what they called us,” said Bush in her victory speech. “But now, we are a multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational, mass movement united in demanding change.”
The Bush victory follows the hard defeat of state representative, Charles Booker, who lost in the Senate Democratic primaries against Amy McGrath in June. Voters waited in long lines just to park their cars at the packed polling place. Before the elections, Kentucky changed the number of voting locations as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jefferson county only had one polling station. Similarly, voters experienced long waits in the Bush-Clay political faceoff.
If Bush wins, she’ll be the third African American and the first Black woman to serve a congressional official in Missouri. A pastor and nurse who is the mother of two children, Bush dove into activism after the death of 18-year-old Micheal Brown by a Ferguson police officer led to months of protest. The progressive follows the likes of Rep. John Lewis, the recently deceased Georgia congressman who started in Civil Rights activism.
Now, Bush faces Republican opponent Anthony Rogers and Libertarian Alex Furman in November elections. Since the congressional district has an overwhelming representation of Democratic voters, Bush carries the strong possibility of winning.
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