Rep. Ilhan Omar, right, D-Minn., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
(The Center Square) – Tuesday’s primary election resulted in few surprises for voters seeking to place their preferred candidates in contention for open seats in the U.S. Congress.
Among the most-watched national campaign battles in Michigan were John James’ challenge against incumbent U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and the reelection bid of U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, which once again pitted her against Brenda Jones for the congressional seat once occupied by John Conyers.
James won the Republican nomination to run against Peters in November’s general election. Although both candidates ran unopposed, this is James’ second bite at the apple as the Birmingham Brother Rice alumnus tried unsuccessfully to unseat three-term incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2018.
Tlaib’s primary campaign was a rematch with Democrat Brenda Jones. Both women had sought the U.S. House of Representatives nomination for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District in 2018. Jones previously had won a special election against Tlaib to replace the deceased Conyers.
Tlaib also ran against Jones in the 2018 primary election in which she narrowly defeated Jones by only 900 votes, or 31.2 percent to Jones’ 30.2 percent.
In the November 2018 general election, Tlaib received more than 82 percent of the vote against write-in candidates, third-party candidates, and a late independent candidacy waged by Jones in which she received only 0.3 percent of the total vote.
Once inaugurated, Tlaib, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, quickly gained national attention as a firebrand with a profanity-laced diatribe against President Donald Trump. She is a member of “the Squad” – the collective name given newly elected Democratic women in Congress after the 2018 election, including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar; and Massachusetts’ Ayanna Pressley.
A Palestinian-American Muslim, Tlaib sparked further controversy for her outspoken positions opposing Israeli policies, which resulted in Israel banning her and fellow Muslim Omar from visiting the country. Among her voiced sentiments is support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to punish Israel for its military presence and building in the West Bank.
In a Wednesday morning tweet, Tlaib positioned herself as the underdog in the primary race.
“Headlines said I was the most vulnerable member of the Squad. My community responded last night and said our Squad is big. It includes all who believe we must show up for each other and prioritize people over profits. It’s here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger.”
Tlaib will face off against presumed Republican candidate David Dudenhoefer in November.