NEW YORK - An African American woman on Tuesday pulled off an upset victory in a Democratic primary contest against a 10-term entrenched male incumbent in Boston, the latest sign that insurgent US candidates from the left are gaining ground.
Ayanna Pressley, 44, won the Democratic nomination for the US House of Representatives in Massachusetts's seventh district, one of the most left-leaning in America and which includes Harvard University.
"It seems like change is on the way," she told her cheering supporters. "Ours was truly a people-power, grass-roots campaign."
Pressley has long been identified as a rising star in the Democratic Party. In 2009, she was the first woman of color ever elected to the Boston City Council. She also worked for former senator John Kerry.
Michael Capuano, who has represented the district for 20 years, conceded defeat in a primary that few predicted he would lose, armed with an impressive party machinery and top-flight support.
"This is life and this is OK. America's going to be OK. Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman, and I will tell you that Massachusetts will be well served," the 66-year-old said.
Winning Tuesday's primary in the safe Democratic seat puts Pressley on course to become the first African American in Massachusetts to be elected to the US House of Representatives.
Teeming opposition on the left to US President Donald Trump has fueled primary wins for insurgent, women and minority candidates in Democratic primaries ahead of November's crucial mid-term elections.
Some similarities have been drawn between Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the political novice who defeated Democratic Party grandee Joe Crowley in a New York primary in June.
But as Capuano and Pressley are both progressives, she campaigned for change and argued that her life experience - she is a survivor of sexual assault - would make her the better representative.