Liberals Spar over Trump’s ‘Hate Wall’ in House Primary Debate

Race between Pressley and Capuano has been tagged as the next potential Democratic Party shakeup

Rep. Michael Capuano, center, and Boston city counselor Ayanna Pressley squared off in their final debate for the Massachusetts 7th District seat before next month’s Democratic primary. (WGBH)

Boston city counselor Ayanna Pressley accused Rep. Michael Capuano on Wednesday of hewing too close to the right on issues including criminal justice, police protests and funding for a proposed border wall Wednesday in the final debate of one of Massachusetts’ most closely watched House primaries.

Both candidates are left-leaning liberals who have acknowledged that they often agree. But they have taken on more aggressive stances as the clock ticks down in a race that has attracted national attention as the next to potentially shake up the Democratic Party.

Pressley, who is African American, 22 years Capuano’s junior and cast as the “the next young, charismatic, progressive woman who could topple an older male veteran of Washington,” took the offensive during the 30-minute, televised debate, the Boston Globe reported.

She accused Capuano of being willing to support President Trump’s “hate wall,” of voting to restrict access to abortion and of expressing skepticism about the push for gun control after the Virginia Tech massacre, the Globe reported

Capuano, a 20-year incumbent, countered with a shot at Pressley for criticizing Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election. Both Capuano and Pressley supported Hillary Clinton during that race. 

Polls show Capuano leading in the Sept. 4 primary. Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district leans strongly to the left. It encompasses Boston’s residential neighborhoods and its surrounding suburbs, where there are large Hispanic, black and Asian populations. 

No Republican candidates filed for the race that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Solid Democratic.

Watch: Win or Lose in the Midterms, Top Democratic Leaders Could Shuffle in House

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.