Cori Bush

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Cori Bush
Cori Bush, July 2020 (close crop).png
Personal details
Born (1976-07-21) July 21, 1976 (age 44)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationLutheran School of Nursing (GrDip)
WebsiteCampaign website

Cori Bush (born July 21, 1976)[citation needed] is an American politician, registered nurse, pastor, and activist from St. Louis, Missouri, who is the Democratic nominee for Missouri's 1st congressional district.[1] On August 4, 2020, she defeated 10-term incumbent Lacy Clay in the 2020 U.S. House of Representatives primary election, advancing to the November general election in the solidly Democratic congressional district. If elected, as is expected, Bush will be 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 2018 U.S. House of Representatives election for Missouri's 1st congressional district and the 2016 U.S. Senate election in Missouri. She was featured in the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House.

Early life and education[edit]

Bush was born and raised in St. Louis, where she attended local public schools and Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School. She studied at Harris–Stowe State University for one year before earning a graduate diploma in nursing from the Lutheran School of Nursing.[2][3]


In 2011, Bush established the Kingdom Embassy International church in St. Louis. 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.[4]

Bush is a Nonviolence 365 Ambassador with the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.[4]

Political campaigns[edit]

2016 and 2018 campaigns[edit]

Bush was a candidate for the 2016 United States Senate election in Missouri. In the Democratic primary, she placed second to Secretary of State Jason Kander. Kander narrowly lost the election to incumbent Republican Roy Blunt.[5][6]

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.[7] 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.[8][9] Clay defeated Bush, 56.7% to 36.9%.[10]

2020 congressional campaign[edit]

In 2020, Bush announced her intention to again run against Clay.[11][12][13]

Bush 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,[14][15] former Ohio state senator Nina Turner,[16] activist Angela Davis,[16] West Virginia Democratic nominee for Senate Paula Jean Swearengin,[17] and actress Michelle Forbes.[citation needed]

External video
video icon Cori Bush Democratic Primary Night Victory Remarks, August 4, 2020, C-SPAN

Bush 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 48.6% of the vote, winning St. Louis City and narrowly losing St. Louis County.[18] Her primary win ended a 52-year hold on the district by the Clay family. Clay's father, Bill, won the seat in 1968 and handed it to his son in 2000.[19][20][21] 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 cleared the 40 percent mark in the district since the late 1940s.

Political positions[edit]

Bush is a progressive Democrat, supporting policies such as criminal justice and police reform, abortion rights, Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free state college and trade school, and canceling student debt.[22] She was endorsed by, and is a member of, the Democratic Socialists of America.[23][24] Bush is a supporter of the BDS movement.[25]

Awards and honors[edit]

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.[26][better source needed]

Personal life[edit]

Bush lives in St. Louis. She is a single mother of two children, and previously raised them while homeless.[27][28]

Electoral history[edit]


2016 United States Senate election in Missouri Democratic primary [29]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jason Kander 223,492 69.9
Democratic Cori Bush 42,453 13.3
Democratic Chief Wana Dubie 30,432 9.5
Democratic Robert Mack 23,509 7.4
Total votes 319,886 100.00%


Missouri 1st Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2018[30]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lacy Clay (incumbent) 81,426 56.7
Democratic Cori Bush 53,056 36.9
Democratic Joshua Shipp 4,959 3.5
Democratic DeMarco K. Davidson 4,229 2.9
Total votes 143,670 100.0


Missouri 1st Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2020[31]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cori Bush 73,274 48.5
Democratic Lacy Clay (incumbent) 68,887 45.6
Democratic Katherine Bruckner 8,850 5.9
Total votes 151,011 100.0
Missouri's 1st Congressional District, 2020
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cori Bush
Republican Anthony Rogers
Libertarian Alex Furman
Total votes 100.0


  1. ^ "Meet Cori Bush, the Ferguson Activist Vying to Be Missouri's First Black Congresswoman". July 31, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  2. ^ "Pastor Cori Bush Activist". Conscious Campus. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  3. ^ Cori Bush's Biography
  4. ^ a b Barger, TK (January 17, 2016). "Pastor drawn into Mo. protest to give keynote at MLK event: Missouri nursing supervisor to tell of Ferguson's frontlines". Toledo Blade. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  5. ^ "Can Cori Bush end Lacy Clay's flawless streak at the ballot box?". St. Louis Public Radio. July 26, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  6. ^ Chávez, Aída (August 7, 2018). "Insurgent Candidate Cori Bush Wants to End the Dynastic Rule of a Missouri Congressional District". The Intercept. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  7. ^ Fandos, Nicholas (August 2, 2020). "In St. Louis, Testing Liberal Might Against a Democratic Fixture". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  8. ^ Fenske, Sarah. "Cori Bush's Campaign Against Lacy Clay Bolstered by Ocasio-Cortez Upset". Riverfront Times. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  9. ^ "Cori Bush". Brand New Congress. August 3, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  10. ^ "Missouri Primary Election Results: First House District". The New York Times. September 24, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  11. ^ Millhiser, Ian (August 4, 2020). "Cori Bush wants to be the next progressive to upset a sitting congressman. Today's her shot". Vox. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  12. ^ Bowden, John (July 13, 2020). "Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush on running for Congress: 'We have to have progressive change'". TheHill. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  13. ^ Voght, Kara. "This Black Lives Matter activist is running for Congress. Can she bring down a 20-year incumbent?". Mother Jones. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  14. ^ "Endorsements". Cori Bush For Congress. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  15. ^ Krieg, Gregory. "Jamaal Bowman endorses Missouri progressive Cori Bush in primary challenge to Lacy Clay". CNN. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Cori Bush of Netflix's 'Knock Down the House' Discusses Her Newest Campaign". June 19, 2019. Bush refuses all corporate PAC money and is endorsed by progressive leaders like Angela Davis, Nina Turner, and Shaun King.
  17. ^ "'Knock Down the House' Stars Endorse Bernie Sanders' Campaign". June 26, 2019. Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearingen have all thrown their support behind the openly socialist 2020 candidate, Bernie Sanders 2020 announced on Twitter on Saturday. "Thank you @CoriBush, @paulajean2020, and @amy4thepeople for endorsing our campaign! Together we can defeat Donald Trump and finally create a government that works for everyone in this country," the tweet read.
  18. ^ "Missouri Primary Election Results: First Congressional District". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  19. ^ Fandos, Nicholas (August 5, 2020). "Cori Bush Defeats William Lacy Clay in a Show of Progressive Might" – via
  20. ^ Cummings, William. "Who is Cori Bush, the nurse, pastor and activist who ended a 52-year political dynasty?". USA TODAY. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  21. ^ CNN, Gregory Krieg. "Lacy Clay defeated by progressive primary challenger Cori Bush, CNN projects". CNN. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  22. ^ "'People Are Hurting': Why Cori Bush Is Making Another Congressional Run". Rewire.News. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  23. ^ Taylor, Astra. "A New Group of Leftist Primary Challengers Campaign Through Protests and the Coronavirus". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  24. ^ Day, Meagan (August 7, 2020). "Cori Bush on How She Took On the Political Establishment and Won". Jacobin (magazine). Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  25. ^ Ali Harb (August 5, 2020). "Cori Bush was attacked over BDS before election; she did not back down". "Cori Bush has always been sympathetic to the BDS movement, and she stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people just as they have stood in solidarity with Black Americans fighting for their own lives," her campaign said in a statement on Saturday.
  26. ^ "Pastor Cori Bush Activist". Conscious Campus. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  27. ^ Gibson, Brittany (July 20, 2020). "Cori Bush Seeks to Be a Congresswoman Organizer". The American Prospect. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  28. ^ "Once homeless, Cori Bush ousts 20-year Rep. Lacy Clay in Missouri primary: "They counted us out"". Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  29. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^ "Missouri Primary Election Results: First House District". September 24, 2018 – via
  31. ^ "State of Missouri - Primary Election, August 04, 2020". Missouri Secretary of State. Retrieved August 4, 2020.

External links[edit]