Rashida Tlaib is poised to make history. She is the projected Democratic primary winner in Michigan’s 13th District, a seat held for years by former Rep. John Conyers before he resigned in December amid allegations of sexual harassment. Tlaib will not face a Republican opponent in the November election, and thus is on the brink of becoming the first Muslim woman elected to Congress. She will represent the heavily Democratic district, which covers much of Detroit and some of its suburbs, for a full term beginning in January.
Tlaib is also in a very close race with Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, in a special primary race to serve the last two months of Conyers’s term. According to the AP, the race is still too close to call, as of early Wednesday morning.
Here are six things to know about the trailblazing Congresswoman-to-be:
- Her parents came to Detroit from Palestine, where her father was employed by Ford. Tlaib was born and raised in the city, the eldest of 14 siblings. She graduated from Detroit public schools, attended Wayne State University, and earned a law degree from Western Michigan University. She is also the mother of two sons.
- In 2008, she became the first Muslim woman ever to serve in Michigan’s state legislature. She served in the Michigan House from 2009 until 2014.
- Two years ago she was arrested for disrupting a Trump speech in downtown Detroit, where she shouted at him, “Our kids deserve better,” and encouraged him to read the Constitution.
- She has called Donald Trump’s election a “bat signal” that provoked many progressive women to run for office.
- She is one of more than 90 American Muslims running for office this year.
- She has the backing of the progressive wing of the Democratic party, including Justice for Democrats, the group that backed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her upset win in New York in June.