Progressive Rep. Rashida Tlaib wins Michigan Democratic primary

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) won her primary on Tuesday, disappointing many centrist Democrats and pro-Israel donors who are again trying to oust her.

U.S. House of Representatives ultra-progressive “squad” member Tlaib defeated Detroit City Secretary Janice Winfrey, former state Rep. Shanel Jackson and Rasstrup Village Mayor Kelly Garrett.

Michigan’s redistricted 12th Congressional District, which includes some of Detroit’s west side and northern and western suburbs, is highly democratic. Tlaib’s victory in the primary nearly guaranteed her a third term in Congress.

“I’m not surprised,” said Dr. Jimmy Womack, a Detroit pastor and former state representative who lives in the adjacent area. “She’s the defeated candidate.”

Winfrey, backed by a super PAC largely funded by pro-Israel hedge fund managers, is Tlaib’s strongest challenger.

She and the super PACs who support her Attack on Tlaib Calls for police abolition, her vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill and her refusal to explicitly endorse Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign. Little is stated why pro-Israel donors are donating to her: Palestinian-American Tlaib is an advocate for a single, bi-ethnic Israeli-Palestinian state and an anti-Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). ) supporters of the movement.

Some voters, especially in parts of constituencies not previously represented by Tlaib, found the criticism persuasive.

“I’m not saying [the Squad members] is the bad guy. They just don’t work for me,” said Dorothy Wright, a retired AT&T employee who lives in Southfield and Tlaib did not represent the company before. “All of that is bad for the Democrats — if you don’t want to be a Democrat, go somewhere else. “

But Winfrey failed to clear the field of other challengers, and face criticism She manages elections in the city of Detroit.As of Election Day, the super PAC supporting her has spent Below $700,000 Raise her bid — well below the $1 million it plans to raise and spend.

Tlaib has now fielded a major challenge for two consecutive cycles, cementing a “squad” member’s undefeated record against potential Democratic rivals. In 2020, Tlaib handily defeated then-Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones.

Womack, a retired doctor and former member of Tlaib, said this time, the retirement of Rep. Brenda Lawrence and the prospect of Detroit losing its last black congressman created an opportunity for challengers to oust Tlaib. .

But Tlaib’s reputation for a relentless campaign, ample campaign funding, and strong voter service proved decisive.

“Have an appetite for other people,” Womack said. “But Rashida works hard. She has a strong presence in Southeast Michigan.”

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