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Ayanna Pressley Breaks with ‘The Squad’ to Endorse Warren over Sanders

From left: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, July 15, 2019 (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Representative Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) became the final member of “the squad” to endorse a presidential candidate, and broke ranks with her fellow first-term congresswomen on Tuesday by backing Elizabeth Warren over Bernie Sanders.

“From fighting to erase income inequality and close the racial wealth gap, to taking on the epidemic of gun violence and working to dismantle structural racism, Elizabeth has made it her life’s work to pursue justice for working families and put economic and political power in the hands of people,” Pressley said in a video announcing the decision. “We find ourselves in a fight for the soul of our nation, and I know Elizabeth can win it.”

Pressley, the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, sided with her home-state senator over Bernie Sanders, whose campaign secured the endorsements of fellow progressives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan last month. Pressley will make her first public appearance with Warren’s campaign at a town hall at North Carolina State University on Thursday, and will participate in future campaign events as well.

Warren sat out of Pressley’s race last year, refusing to endorse her or her opponent, former representative Michael Capuano, in Massachusetts’ 17th District, a race that Pressley ultimately won by 17 points.

In 2016, Pressley, then a Boston City Councillor-at-Large, endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

“America is not a single-issue country. While I have tremendous respect for and support US Sen. Bernie Sanders’s call for campaign finance reform, I cannot think of one instance in my time as a Boston City Councillor when a constituent implored me to make repealing Citizens United a top priority,” Pressley wrote at the time. “. . . progress in governing and policy is not theoretical. Its impact, however imperfect, is very real in the lives of people.”