‘Squad’ member Rashida Tlaib wins primary in Michigan

Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, easily secured likely re-election to the 13th District in and around Detroit

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib won a challenge for her House seat in Michigan’s primary, in a rematch with the woman she narrowly defeated two years ago.

Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, easily secured likely re-election to the 13th District in and around Detroit. Her opponent in Tuesday’s primary was Detroit City Council President President Brenda Jones, who lost by 1 percentage point in 2018 when the primary field was larger. Jones on the same day defeated Tlaib to later fill out the remainder of John Conyers’ term.

Tlaib, 44, will face an underdog Republican candidate in November.

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The showdown in one of the country’ poorest districts had featured Jones criticizing Tlaib’s confrontational style and vowing to focus on bringing home funding. Tlaib once called the president an expletive while vowing to impeach him. He later targeted her with racist tweets.

“Headlines said I was the most vulnerable member of the Squad,” Tlaib tweeted Wednesday. “My community responded last night and said our Squad is big. It includes all who believe we must show up for each other and prioritize people over profits. It’s here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger.”

The Democratic showdown in one of the country’s poorest districts featured Jones criticizing Tlaib’s confrontational style and vowing to focus on bringing home funding. Tlaib once called the president an expletive while vowing to impeach him. He later targeted her with racist tweets.

Michigan Voters Visit The Polls For State's Primary Election
Residents keep their distance while waiting in line for same-day voter registration or amendments to their voting status as a man drops off his absentee ballot outside of the City of Detroit Department of Elections during the Michigan Primary Election on August 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Brittany Greeson/Getty Images)

Tlaib, an unapologetic fighter and progressive with a national profile, noted that Trump signed into law a bill she sponsored to protect retirees’ pension benefits and that she has gotten amendments approved with bipartisan support. She also cited work creating neighborhood service centers to help residents throughout the district.

Andrew E. Bryant, 71, voted for Tlaib at New Providence Baptist Church on Detroit’s west side. He said she has been outspoken on behalf of Detroit’s working class and poor, and especially against water service shut-offs for people unable to pay their bills.

“I look at the person that I think is best qualified” and Tlaib “is a fighter,” he said.

Gregory Wilson, 64, who also voted at the church, cast his ballot for Jones.

“I voted for Brenda Jones simply because I’ve done a little work with her because I’m a police chaplain,” he said. “With Rashida Tlaib, I’m probably not the best informed voter.”

Tlaib will be the overwhelming favorite in November’s general election.

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The race was not just about an older establishment figure challenging a young, more liberal activist but also the racial dynamics in the district. The 60-year-old Jones, like more than half of the district’s residents, is Black while Tlaib is Palestinian American.

Tlaib had a huge financial advantage over Jones, having raised more than $2 million. Jones was far outraised in 2018 but almost won. The four other candidates then backed Jones this time, while Tlaib was endorsed by unions, Bernie Sanders and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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Associated Press writer Corey Williams in Detroit contributed.

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