- Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic Party nomination for the US House of Representatives in Michigan on Tuesday.
- She will run unopposed in November, putting her on course to become the first Muslim woman in Congress.
- The 42-year-old is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, having been forcibly removed for heckling him at a luncheon two years ago.
- The Detroit-born daughter of Palestinian immigrants has also described difficulties being Muslim in Trump’s America.
Rashida Tlaib on Tuesday won the Democratic nomination for the US House of Representatives in Michigan’s 13th District, putting her on track to become the first Muslim congresswoman in US history.
She will run unopposed in November, as the Republican Party has not put forward a candidate to contest the seat.
Tlaib is poised to take the seat previously held by John Conyers, the Democratic congressman who left his seat in December following multiple sexual-harassment allegations. Conyers had been in Congress representing various Michigan districts since 1965.
Tlaib had won 33.2% of the votes as of early Wednesday morning,The New York Times reported, with 96% of the votes counted. The first runner-up, Brenda Jones, trailed her by more than 3,000 votes.
The 42-year-old progressive candidate, who was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants, isn’t new to politics. She was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2008 to 2014, when she hit her term limit.
She then worked as an attorney at the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, an employees-rights group.
An experienced Trump protester
Tlaib has been particularly vocal in her opposition to President Donald Trump.
Two years ago she was forcibly removed from a ticketed luncheon in Detroit after heckling Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, who was giving a speech on economics.
“He doesn’t love Detroit,” she shouted, according to the Detroit Free Press. “He doesn’t love no one who isn’t Donald Trump.” She was dragged away to a mixture of boos and applause.
She later said she had been protesting Trump’s attitudes toward immigrants and Muslims. “I have heard critics calling it unbecoming of a former state legislator,” she wrote in the Detroit Free Press. “Well, I believe it is unbecoming of any American to not stand up to Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric and tactics.”
Watch Tlaib’s protest in the first 35 seconds of the clip below.
Tlaib is likely to continue her opposition to Trump in Congress.
In June, Tlaib protested the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Trump’s travel ban, and a local news report showed her breaking up a fight between a protester and a passer-by. She vowed to introduce legislation to repeal the decision upon her election, CNN reported.
She has also hinted at impeaching Trump while in Congress.She told The Hill in April: “I keep telling people this is about electing a jury that will impeach him, and I make a heck of a juror.”
An ‘aggressive’ campaign similar to Ocasio-Cortez’s
Tlaib’s progressive campaign is similar to that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old socialist candidate for New York’s 14th District who beat a veteran politician in a major upset within the Democratic Party earlier this year.
Tlaib’s campaign includes providing Medicare for all, securing a $US15 state minimum wage, and fighting big corporations for worker and union rights.
Her team took an “aggressive and direct” approach to campaigning, like Ocasio-Cortez, CNN cited her campaign manager as saying.
“We are basically running the same campaign, with the same platform and with a very similar candidate,” Andy Goddeeris, Tlaib’s campaign manager, told CNN.
A Muslim in Trump’s America
Tlaib has privately agonized over anti-Muslim sentiment in the US, CNN said.
She told the news network earlier this year that when her son saw a US news platform publish a cartoon comparing Muslims to Nazis, he told her: “Mama, don’t worry, if anybody asks if I’m Muslim, I will lie and tell them I’m not.”
“I get emotional about it,” Tlaib said, adding that she felt added pressure to win. “It’s very painful, and so they say you gotta win, because if you win, then our kids will see that we belong.”
As the results trickled in Wednesday morning, Tlaib tweeted: “Thank you so much for making this unbelievable moment possible. I am at a loss for words. I cannot wait to serve you in Congress.”
— CNN (@CNN) August 8, 2018
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