Former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib set to become first Muslim woman elected to Congress

Former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib set to become first Muslim woman elected to Congress


Former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic nomination for a U.S. House seat Tuesday night propelling her into history as she is set to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress in November.

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Overcoming a crowded primary with four other candidates, Tlaib will assume the seat held by former Rep. John Conyers for a two-year term that begins in January.

Tlaib’s campaign did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

With no Republicans or Independents running for the 13th Congressional District, she is favored to win in the general election. Although she can be opposed by a write-in candidate, she scored a narrow victory in a deep Democratic field, in a staunchly Democratic district.

Former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib set to become first Muslim woman elected to Congress  Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
New York City raised its voice again to demand equality for all humans at the 2018 Womens March, Jan. 20, 2018, in New York City.

The Associated Press called the election for Tlaib early Wednesday morning. She is part of a trove of women who declared candidacies for office in 2018 — nearly 500 women are running for Congress this year across both parties, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

After winning the nomination, Tlaib also helped the so-called “pink wave” cross another milestone: 2018 has the highest number of women nominees — at least 182 — running for the U.S. House of Representatives in history.

Running as a progressive insurgent, similar to the ranks of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib supports policies like “Medicare-for-all” and a $15 per hour minimum wage. She was also endorsed by Justice Democrats — the same group that backed Cortez in her stunning defeat of New York Rep. Joe Crowley.

Former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib set to become first Muslim woman elected to Congress  Jonathan Bachman/Reuters
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at the Netroots Nation annual conference for political progressives in New Orleans, Aug. 4, 2018, 2018.

In the midst of her campaign, which raised more than $1 million in donations, according to FiveThirtyEight, she joined a rallying cry of the progressive grassroots movement, declaring her support for #AbolishICE — which has contracted backlash from the right and caused division inside the left. She called the agency “a recent invention that makes our neighborhoods less safe, vindictively and cruelly tearing families apart.”

But Tlaib’s bid isn’t quite finished: she is also competing in a simultaneous special primary race that will determine who serves out the last two months of Conyers’ term.

Conyers decided to step down in December prompting a special election. Conyers cited health concerns. At the time of his resignation, he was facing several sexual-harassment allegations.

That race was still too close to call, according to the AP, with Tlaib and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones in a dead heat. If Tlaib wins the special election, she will fill the seat from the November election until the next Congress begins.

ABC News’ Roey Hadar contributed to this report.





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