‘Squad’ member Tlaib faces test in Michigan primary

Tlaib faces a challenge from Brenda Jones who lost by 1 percentage point in the 2018 race.

By AP and World Israel News Staff

“Squad” member Rashida Tlaib was trying to fend off a serious challenge for her House seat in Michigan’s primary on Tuesday, in a rematch with the woman she narrowly defeated two years ago.

Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, was seeking reelection in the 13th District in and around Detroit. Her sole opponent is Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, who lost by 1 percentage point in 2018 when the primary field was larger. Jones on the same day defeated Tlaib to fill out the remainder of John Conyers’ term.

Tlaib, 44, was leading in early returns.

“I’m confident. I’m confident in the movement that we started. I’m confident that as we experience this tonight, we are going to see that our country is ready, is ready for someone like me and others that are saying, ’Enough. Enough with corporate greed. Enough with the assault on our families,’” she said in a video to supporters after the polls closed.

The Democratic showdown in one of the country’s poorest districts featured Jones criticizing Tlaib’s confrontational style and vowing to focus on bringing home funding. Tlaib once called the president an expletive while vowing to impeach him.

Tlaib, who has made many anti-Semitic statements, came in at No. 5 together with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Top 10 2019 list of anti-Semitism for her “slander of Israel and Jews.”

The primary winner will be the overwhelming favorite in November’s general election.

The race was not just about an older establishment figure challenging a young, more liberal activist but also the racial dynamics in the district. Jones, like more than half of the district’s residents, is black while Tlaib is Palestinian American.

Tlaib had a huge financial advantage over Jones, having raised more than $2 million. The four other candidates backed Jones, while Tlaib was endorsed by unions, Bernie Sanders and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.