Shahid Buttar, a democratic socialist hoping to unseat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, declared a tactical victory after finishing second in California’s primary election Tuesday.
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, easily won the primary contest upon receiving roughly 72.5% of the vote, guaranteeing her a spot on the ballot in November’s general election and effectively a shot at serving an 18th term representing the state’s 12th Congressional District.
And despite receiving only 12.7% of the vote, Mr. Buttar’s second-place finish means his name will also appear on the ballot when Californians return to the polls this fall.
Rules governing the state’s “top two” primary system allow for both the winner and runner-up to appear on the November ballot, even if they are members of the same political party.
As a result, Mrs. Pelosi is now set to compete against another Democrat during the general election for the first time since being voted into Congress more than three decades ago.
“We did it!!” Mr. Buttar’s campaign said on Twitter late Tuesday. “For 30+ yrs, Pelosi’s corporate fundraising machine protected her from a Democratic challenger. Tonight, WE changed that.”
“We’re looking forward to giving San Francisco a new voice in Congress!” the campaign said in a separate tweet.
A Pelosi campaign spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
Mr. Buttar, a 45-year-old lawyer and activist, previously ran in 2018 to replace Mrs. Pelosi but ultimately placed third in the state’s primary. The congresswoman subsequently defeated Republican challenger Lisa Remmer that November upon receiving nearly 87% of the vote.