With Primary Win, Rashida Tlaib Set to Become First Palestinian-American Congresswoman

Rashida Tlaib won the primary for Michigan's 13th Congressional District, virtually guaranteeing she will be elected the first Muslim woman in Congress

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Haaretz
Rashida Tlaib in front of the Michigan Capitol building in 2008.
Rashida Tlaib in front of the Michigan Capitol building in 2008.Credit: Al Goldis / AP
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Haaretz

Former Democratic state representative Rashida Tlaib won her primary in Michigan's 13th Congressional District Tuesday, bringing her closer to becoming the first Palestinian-American woman to hold national office.

With almost all the votes counted, Tlaib won 33.2 percent of the vote over Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, with 29.2 percent. There is no Republican running for the seat in the heavily Democratic-leaning district, meaning Tlaib is virtually guaranteed to win the seat in November's election.

More Primary results: Progressive Michigan Muslim falls short as Trump claims a victory

Former Rep. John Conyers, 89, resigned from Congress in December following sexual harassment allegations. Prior to Tuesday's race, Tlaib was said to have the best chance of winning as she was running strong and had recently nabbed the key endorsement of the Detroit Free Press.

The daughter of Palestinian immigrants and the eldest of 14 children, Tlaib became the first Muslim woman in the state legislature in 2008. She was a lawyer and community activist prior to her political career, which she attributed to the urging of her Jewish boss and predecessor, Democratic state Rep. Steve Tobocman.

Her mother is from Beit Ur al-Fauqa, outside Ramallah, and her father from Beit Hanina, an East Jerusalem neighborhood.

Tlaib told The Detroit News on Tuesday that her day had been filled with "happy chaos."

“Especially meeting voters and talking to them, they are inspired,” she said. “One resident said she’s happy for me and it’s already written. It’s been amazing to interact with families at polling locations. I feel very much supported."

In 2016, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the 13th District by 60.6 points while President Donald Trump, a Republican, won by 0.2 points.

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