Previewing Missouri’s 1st Congressional District Democratic primary

Incumbent William Lacy Clay, Katherine Bruckner, and Cori Bush are running in the Aug. 4 Democratic Party primary in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District. Bush challenged Clay in the district’s 2018 Democratic primary, which Clay won, receiving 57% of the vote to Bush’s 37%.

Clay was first elected in 2000, replacing his father, former Rep. William Lacy Clay, Sr. (D). Clay Jr. served in the Missouri State Legislature from 1983 to 2001. He received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In their endorsement, the Post-Dispatch’s editorial board wrote, “[Clay] has been a steady, predictable representative and a reliable vote for mainstream Democratic priorities — including the fight against poverty and for social justice.”

Bush is a nurse and civil rights organizer who was involved with demonstrations in Ferguson after the shooting death of Michael Brown by police. She received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jamaal Bowman (D), a candidate in New York’s 16th District who defeated 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel (D) in the district’s June 23 primary. In his endorsement, Bowman said, “Bush understands the struggles facing her communities, because she’s lived them herself … She will fight to confront racist and reckless policing … and I’m proud to support her grassroots campaign.”

Pre-primary reports show Clay raising $744,000 and Bush with $569,000. At this same point in the 2018 primary, Clay had raised $407,000 compared to Bush’s $139,000.

Clay and his father have represented the 1st District since 1969. Three race-tracking outlets rate the district as Solid/Safe Democratic. The winner of the primary will face Libertarian Alex Furman and the winner of the Republican primary, either Winnie Heartstrong or Anthony Rogers, in the general election.