Progressive Democrat Rashida Tlaib Wins Primary as She Seeks Second Term

Representative Rashida Tlaib, who gained notoriety as part of the group of four progressive women in the House known as “the Squad,” easily beat back a challenge from Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones to gain a Democratic primary victory that positions her to win a second term serving Michigan’s 13th Congressional District.

“Voters sent a clear message that they’re done waiting for transformative change, that they want an unapologetic fighter who will take on the status quo and win. We have a resounding mandate to put people before profits,” Tlaib said in a statement Wednesday. “If I was considered the most vulnerable member of the Squad, I think it’s safe to say the Squad is here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger.”

The win by Tlaib in the heavily Democratic district formerly represented by the late John Conyers makes her a strong favorite in the November general election. The primary race continued a series of face-offs between the two women, with Tlaib having narrowly defeated Jones in the 2018 primary after having lost to her in a special election to replace Conyers after he retired from Congress.

With most precincts reporting, Tlaib had 66% of the vote to 34% for Jones, according to an Associated Press tally.

Tlaib went into the primary as a stronger candidate than in 2018, having gained public attention along with fellow Squad members Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley for their sharp criticism of President Donald Trump and other Republicans as well as mainstream Democrats. Tlaib, who along with Omar became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, drawing Trump’s ire after calling for his impeachment shortly after she took office.

Ocasio-Cortez easily won her New York primary against Wall Street-backed challenger Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. Omar is facing a tough challenge in her race against political newcomer Antone Melton-Meaux, who has raised $3.4 million ahead of the Aug. 11 Minnesota primary. Pressley is unopposed on the ballot for the Sept. 1st primary in Massachusetts.

Jones, who is Black, tried to paint Tlaib as more interested in building her national profile than in serving the largely African American, impoverished district.

Tlaib came into the race with a massive financial advantage. She raised nearly $2.21 million and received endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Bernie Sanders, according to the Federal Elections Commission. Jones raised only about $147,000.

Michigan was one of five states holding primaries on Tuesday. Progressives scored another win in Missouri when Representative Lacy Clay, who’s represented St. Louis for the past 20 years, was ousted in his primary by Cori Bush, a nurse and pastor, who was making a second run at the incumbent.

Bush campaigned on the District needing new representation in an era when the campaign for racial justice has taken prominence. She was backed by Justice Democrats, the group that helped Ocasio-Cortez defeat a longtime Democratic incumbent in 2018. Justice Democrats also supported Tlaib.

The district is overwhelmingly Democratic, meaning Bush is all but certain to become the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress after the general election.

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