Meet The Politician Who Is Poised To Become The First Muslim Woman In Congress

She's one of many likely historical firsts in this year's elections.

After winning the Democratic primary in Michigan's 13th District, Rashida Tlaib is primed to become the first Muslim woman in Congress come November.

Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is no stranger to being first. In 2008, she became the first Muslim woman in Michigan's state legislature, she was the first in her family to attend college, she was the first born of 14 children and — when she runs unopposed in November — she'll likely become the first Muslim woman in Congress and just the third Muslim representative behind Keith Ellison and André Carson.


Tlaib outdid five other other Democratic candidates and brought home 33.2 percent of the vote in the election. The 42-year-old will serve a two-year term that begins in January.

"This is a huge victory for the Arab and Muslim American communities — it's also a huge victory for the city of Detroit,"  Sally Howell, director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, told The Associated Press. "Rashida Tlaib brings forward the legacy of John Conyers in terms of the groundbreaking role he played in Congress and his commitment to civil rights."

Tlaib joins what is officially the largest group of women to ever run for Congress in United States history. After Tuesday's primaries and special elections, there were officially 172 women nominees for the House of Representatives and 11 women nominees for governor, the most ever, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

Tlaib helped Michigan make history, too. The state now has women running for governor, Senate, state attorney general and secretary of state: the state's first-ever all-female ticket. 

According to Dave Wasserman, a polling an elections expert with Cook Political and FiveThirtyEight, these women are part of a larger trend taking place across in Democratic primaries across the country.

"So far in 2018 Dem House primaries featuring one man, one woman & no incumbent on ballot, a woman has won 83/121 times (69%)," Wasserman tweeted. "On GOP side, just 12/35 times (34%)."

In Kansas, Sharice Davids became the state's first gay and Native American nominee for Congress. Her nomination was a bit of a surprise in what's a traditionally red state with a lot of traditional voters. 

"In a lot of ways, my candidacy and my campaign is just another extension of the non-traditional path that I have in my life," Davids said in an interview before the primary. "What people are seeing is that the traditional way that politics has been done is just not working for so many people."

Tlaib was one of the hundreds of women endorsed by EMILY's List, the organization that recruits progressive women to run for office and advocates more women on both sides of the political aisle across the country. In March, A Plus dove into EMILY's List and their search for the first female president.  

Cover Photo: Shutterstock / Stephanie Kenner


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