Bush narrowly defeated Clay in the primary election in what was widely seen as an upset, and is also seen as tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic district. Bush received 48.5% of the vote, winning St. Louis City and narrowly losing suburban St. Louis County. Her primary win ended the Clay family's 52-year hold on the district. Clay's father, Bill, won the seat in 1968 and handed it to his son in 2000. The district and its predecessors have been in Democratic hands for all but 17 months since 1909, and without interruption since 1911. No Republican has received more than 40% in the district since the late 1940s.
Bush was born on July 21, 1976, in St. Louis, and graduated from Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School in 1994. She studied at Harris–Stowe State University for one year (1995–96) before earning a graduate diploma in nursing from the Lutheran School of Nursing in 2008.
Cori Anika Bush (born July 21, 1976) is an American politician, registered nurse, pastor, and activist serving as the U.S. Representative for Missouri's 1st congressional district. The district includes all of the city of St. Louis and most of northern St. Louis County.
In 2011, Bush established the Kingdom Embassy International Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Her interest in politics began after the 2014 Ferguson unrest, where she worked as a triage nurse and organizer. She said she was assaulted by police, as she was hit by an officer, but was not arrested. Bush is a Nonviolence 365 Ambassador with the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
Bush received the 2015 Women of Courage Award from the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, the 2016 Delux Magazine Power Award, and the 2018 Community Activist Award from the Missouri Association of Black Ministers. Gazelle Magazine named her one of the Top 50 Women of St. Louis. The St. Louis Coalition of Human Rights honored her as an Unsung Human Rights Shero in 2017.
In 2018, Bush launched a primary campaign against incumbent Democratic representative Lacy Clay in Missouri's 1st congressional district. Described as an "insurgent" candidate, Bush was endorsed by Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats. Along with other progressive candidates, she was featured in the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a 10-term incumbent congressman in her 2018 primary victory. Clay defeated Bush, 56.7% to 36.9%.
On August 4, 2020, Bush defeated 10-term incumbent Lacy Clay in a 2020 U.S. House of Representatives primary election largely viewed as a historic upset, advancing to the November general election in the solidly Democratic congressional district. Bush is the first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri. She previously ran in the Democratic primary for the district in 2018 and the 2016 U.S. Senate election in Missouri. She was featured in the 2019 Netflix documentary Knock Down the House, which covered her first primary challenge to Clay.
In 2020, Bush ran against Clay again. She was endorsed by progressive organizations including Justice Democrats, Sunrise Movement, and Brand New Congress and received personal endorsements from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, NY-16 Democratic nominee Jamaal Bowman, former Ohio state Senator Nina Turner, activist Angela Davis, West Virginia Democratic nominee for Senate Paula Jean Swearengin, and actress Michelle Forbes.
On January 6, 2021, hours after pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Bush introduced a resolution to remove every Republican who supported attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election from the House of Representatives.