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Cori Bush joins fellow progressives in celebrating her primary victory

Bush will move on to her first general election after also running in 2018 as Rashida Tlaib defended her seat from a moderate challenger.

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The primary results from elections on Tuesday saw Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib, two progressive women of color, overcome the odds and are now sure to be in Congress next year. 

If Bush were to win in November, she would be the first Black woman to represent the state of Missouri in Congress. 

It will also be her first time serving in public office at any level, but this is the second time she ran for Missouri’s first congressional district. 

Her district, which encompasses the city of St. Louis and its northern suburbs, has a +29 partisan voting index that leans Democrat, which makes it one the most liberal voting regions in the country according to The Cook Political Report.

Bush ousted 10-term incumbent congressman Lacy Clay and with his father, Bill Clay, holding the seat before him, also meaning she put an end to a 52-year dynasty. 

Before showing political aspirations, Bush, 44, worked as a registered nurse, pastor and she is also a single mother. 

The murder of 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., a city north of St. Louis, in August 2014 made Bush become more involved in politics. 

In the protests that followed the shooting she served as triage nurse, but then became an organizer. That involved facing tear gas, mace and rubber bullets from the Missouri National Guard. 

This year, Bush also took part in the protests for police reform that sparked after the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. 

She first ran for Congress in 2018 as part of a progressive wave of candidates that sought to challenge establishment and conservative Democrats. Clay won that primary, receiving 56.7% of the vote. 

The push to get hundreds of working class progressive people to run in the midterm elections was organized by Justice Democrats. 

They are a political action committee founded in part by prominent online political commentators Cenk Uygur and Kyle Kulinski in 2017 to further promote the policies championed by Senator Bernie Sanders in his 2016 presidential run. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the standout progressive candidate to win in 2018 as she unseated 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley, who was the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and represented New York’s 14th Congressional District. 

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez faced a primary challenge in June from Michele Caruso-Cabrera, a CNBC anchor and former Republican, but won in a landslide with over 70% of the vote. 

Both Bush and Ocasio-Cortez featured in a Netflix documentary titled Knock Down The House followed the struggles four women faced in running for Congress. 

Paula Jean Swearengin was also featured in the documentary as she took on West Virginia’s U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, but she only obtained 30.2% of the vote.

Swearengin won her state’s Senate primary in June and will now face Republican Shelley Moore Capito, who is seeking a second term, in November. 

Rep. Tlaib is another Justice Democrat who won a seat in Congress in the 2018 midterms. She currently represents Michigan’s 13th congressional district, which includes the western half of Detroit and surrounding suburbs.

She is a member of the “squad” which is a coalition of four progressive women of color in the House. The other three members are representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar and Massachusetts’ Ayanna Pressley.  

She formerly served in the Michigan House of Representatives and is the first woman of Palestinian descent to serve in Congress. 

Her primary challenger in Tuesday’s election was a familiar rival to her, President of the Detroit City Council Brenda Jones. 

In 2018, there was a special election held after John Conyers resigned following  sexual assault allegations. The winner of the election would serve for the remainder of Conyer’s term. 

Both Tlaib and Jones ran in the special election, and the city council president narrowly won, but the former state legislator won the election to serve in Congress for the 2019-2020 term by about 900 votes. 

When the two met again the contest was not as close, it was called on Wednesday morning and Tlaib had two-thirds of the vote. 

She celebrated her victory on Twitter and referenced when she was labeled the “most vulnerable ‘squad’ member” by multiple outlets.

 

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