Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib has secured a victory in the state’s congressional primaries after establishing herself as a prominent Washington newcomer and member of "the squad" - a group of progressive freshmen lawmakers elected during the 2018 midterms.
The first-term incumbent bested Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones in the 13th district Democratic primaries, receiving a reported 66 percent of the vote. Celebrating her win on Wednesday, the congresswoman wrote in a statement posted to Twitter: “Headlines said I was the most vulnerable member of the Squad.”
“My community responded last night and said our Squad is big,” she added. “It includes all who believe we must show up for each other and [prioritise] people over profits. It’s here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger.
Ms Tlaib defeated Ms Jones in 2018 for the congressional seat previously held by the late John Conyers, a Democrat who represented the 13th district in the US House of Representatives from 1965 to 2017.
She joined a record number of 117 women — many of them Democrats — elected across the country under President Donald Trump during the midterms. The vote followed the historic 2017 Women’s March, which included calls for women to run for elected office.
Like Ms Tlaib, several of the members of the squad won seats that were previously held by longtime incumbents. Ms Ocasio-Cortez unseated 10-term Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley by expanding the electorate in her district, while Democrat Ayanna Pressley defeated 10-term Democratic incumbent Mike Capuano in Massachusetts.
In a statement released by her campaign, Ms Tlaib said: “Voters sent a clear message that they’re done waiting for transformative change, that they want an unapologetic fighter who will take on the status quo and win.”
The statement continued: “If I was considered the most vulnerable member of the Squad, I think it’s safe to say the Squad is here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger."
The 13th district became one of the most closely watched primaries in the state, as analysts debated how Ms Tlaib’s outspokenness towards the Trump administration would impact her re-election after assuming office. The congresswoman has previously called the president an expletive that was seen on a viral video, and has remained largely unapologetic in her opposition to Mr Trump and his agenda.
In a video shared with voters shortly after the polls closed this week, Ms Tlaib said she was “confident” about the “movement” her campaign and supporters started in Michigan.
“I'm confident that as we experience this tonight, we are going to see that our country is ready,” she said, “ready for someone like me and others that are saying, 'Enough. Enough with corporate greed. Enough with the assault on our families.’”
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