WASHINGTON — A former Michigan state legislator is poised to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress after emerging on top of a crowded Democratic primary Tuesday night to fill the seat vacated by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).
Conyers, the sixth-longest serving member of Congress given his election in 1965, resigned in December due to sexual harassment and his use of taxpayer money to settle a harassment claim.
His western Detroit district is all but a lock for Dems, as Republicans didn’t put forth a candidate.
Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American and socialist Dem in the mold of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), ran on a platform to abolish ICE, provide Medicare to all and establish a $15 hourly minimum wage. New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaigned for Tlaib.
There are currently two Muslim men in Congress: Reps. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is not running for re-election and instead vying to become Minnesota’s next attorney general.
In 2008, Tlaib became the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature.
She later got kicked out of a Trump rally, a protest that she called “the most American thing I could ever do.”
.@RashidaTlaib talks about getting thrown out of a Trump rally (for asking him if he ever read the US constitution), the reality of being a Muslim in America, and the importance of knocking doors pic.twitter.com/xOl50igFO2
— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) August 8, 2018
While Tlaib would be the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress, she may not be the only Muslim woman serving in the 116th Congress.
Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar is running for the House seat being vacated by Ellison; she is Somali-American and also running on a Bernie-esqe progressive platform. That primary is next Tuesday.
In Massachusetts, civil rights attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud will attempt to unseat longtime incumbent Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in the Sept. 4 primary. Her progressive platform includes free internet access for all.
In Arizona, Deedra Abboud will face heavily favored Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a centrist Blue Dog Coalition member, in the Aug. 28 primary for the Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).