Former Michigan state lawmaker Rashida Tlaib has won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, setting her up to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.
Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants in Detroit, had been trailing behind rival Brenda Jones in the closely fought 13th Congressional District Democratic primary, however after 63 percent of the 412 precincts reported she led with 35.8 percent to Detroit Council President Jones' 29.8.
No Republicans or third-party candidates ran in Tuesday's District 13 primary race, meaning Tlaib is set to win the seat in November's election. She would take the spot held since 1965 by John Conyers, who stepped down in December citing health reasons amid charges of sexual harassment.
Read more: Palestinian, Muslim, woman - American. Inside Rashida Tlaib's historic run for Congress
Widely considered to be a rising star in Michigan's political scene, Tlaib rose to prominence in 2008 when she became the state legislature's first female Muslim member.
Videos appeared on social media of Tlaib's campaign team doing a traditional Palestinian celebratory dabke dance at her headquarters as the final results of the primaries came in.
While she has become known to the world as the first Arab Muslim woman with a real chance of making it to Congress, Tlaib is perhaps better known in her home town for her advocacy of local issues and committment to social justice.
So far, Tlaib has taken on powerful billionaire Koch brothers, defeating them over toxic chemicals dumped in the Detroit River.
In an interview with The New Arab last month, she said her Palestinian roots are perhaps what has shaped her dedication to see justice served in her locality.
"Detroit has been neglected for so long. For me, it's a calling to serve, and a calling to protect. I think that comes from my Palestinian roots," Tlaib said.
Despite mostly avoiding comment on the Israel-Palestine conflict, in the run up to the August 7 primary Tlaib's opponents attempted to stir fear about her candidacy and her links to fellow Palestinian-Americans.
Hannan Lis, an Israeli-American businessman active in the Democratic Party, raised concerns about Tlaib's friendship with Linda Sarsour - a Palestinian-American activist often targeted by Islamophobes.
"She has chosen to associate with a person who is divisive and clearly hostile to Israel," Hannan is quoted by Haaretz as saying.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright @ 2021 The New Arab.