Tlaib sails to third term in House

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)
Greg Nash
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) addresses reporters during a press conference with the family of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Thursday, July 28, 2022 to discuss the next steps to seek justice for her death in May.

Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib is projected to sail to victory on Tuesday in Michigan’s deep-blue 12th Congressional District, repelling a challenge from Republican Steven Elliott, a Marine Corps veteran, to secure her third term on Capitol Hill. 

The Associated Press called the race at 1:20 a.m.

Tlaib has cut a sharp profile since arriving in Washington four years ago. A member of the far-left “squad,” she made history in 2018 when she became one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress. (Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was the other). And she quickly gained attention as an early and outspoken proponent of impeaching then-President Trump, which brought immediate acclaim from the left while making her a top target of conservatives.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who was projected to win her reelection race, has become a prominent Democratic voice in the House since arriving on Capitol Hill four years ago. (Greg Nash)

With Trump out of office, the dynamics surrounding this year’s contest were far different. And Elliot, who owns a collection of tattoo parlors, sought to make the race a referendum on the Democrats’ approach to crime, border security and a volatile economy under President Biden. 

Those issues have resonated strongly with voters this cycle in battleground regions around the country. And Tlaib, like other members of the “squad,” has been a prominent figure in the crime debate, opposing certain measures to increase police funding that lack enhanced accountability requirements designed to curb police abuses.

Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, has also stirred plenty of controversy for her criticisms of the Israeli government. Last year, she faced a backlash when she went to the floor to denounce Israel’s “apartheid” policies. 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) leaves the Capitol following the last votes of the week on Thursday, July 1, 2021.

Tlaib has faced criticism for some of her positions regarding the Israeli government during her time in Congress. (Greg Nash)

But Elliot’s message had less appeal in Michigan’s heavily-Democratic 12th District, which is centered around Detroit. Biden prevailed there by almost 50 points two years ago.

Redistricting also affected this year’s race after Michigan lost a House seat based on the 2020 census numbers. The shake-up spliced Detroit into two districts, the 12th and 13th, and Tlaib chose to jump from the latter, where she resides, to the former, which constitutes a bulk of her current constituency. 

Neither district is majority Black, which has sparked criticism from civil rights groups concerned that the Motor City, which is overwhelming African American, will be without a Black representative next year for the first time in decades.

Tags 2022 midterms 2022 Midterms House Ilhan Omar Michigan Michigan House race Rashida Tlaib
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