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U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib pulled double duty with a fundraising plea to supporters Saturday, when the Detroit Democrat asked supporters to donate to “squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

Republicans raised $1 million in a bid to defeat Ocasio Cortez and a “corporate” Democratic city councilman will be challenging her in the primary, Tlaib wrote in her fundraising email. 

Referring to Ocasio-Cortez as “my sister,” Tlaib said both parties were “scared that she’s changing the game and shaking up the status quo.”

“What we need is bold, visionary leaders,” Tlaib wrote. “People like AOC who actually represent the people’s voices, not greedy corporations.”

Tlaib’s campaign website asked people to donate between $10 and $1,000 or higher for a contribution that would be divided between Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez. 

Ocasio-Cortez was the surprise Democratic winner over incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Cowley in 2018 in a district including the Bronx and Queens. Among Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic challengers in New York’s 14th District are Queens activist Badrun Khan and New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera.  

Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez make up half of the four-member “squad” of progressive Democratic women who back impeachment and whom President Donald Trump and the GOP have repeatedly attacked.

Ex-convict back in 10th district race

A Port Huron man and former Michigan convict is back in the 10th Congressional District race just a week after announcing he would withdraw. 

Jeffrey Jowske, 51, said last week that he was withdrawing from the race to replace retiring Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Dryden, because of work commitments. 

But Jowske reconsidered the decision after speaking with his employer. 

“I spoke with my employer and they’re going to work with me on the hours so looks like I’m going to pursue the race,” said Jowske, who is running as an independent. 

Jowske was released on parole in 2017 and discharged from the Michigan Department of Corrections in December after serving roughly 24 years in prison for second-degree murder, escape while awaiting trial, escape from prison, possessing a weapon as a prisoner and assault of a prison employee.

Jowske initially was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder in his father’s death, but his case was later reversed. He said he was “railroaded” into a second-degree murder plea deal in 1997, but said he wasn’t responsible for his father’s death.

Jowske cited his experience in the corrections system as an inspiration for his run. 

“The system is broken,” he said. “The criminal justice system is broken.”

Also running in the 10th District — which includes northern Macomb County as well as parts of St. Clair, Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac and Lapeer counties — are Republicans Rep. Shane Hernandez of Port Huron, Richard Piwko of Lexington and Brandon Mikula of Macomb. Democrats Kelly Lynn Nolan and Kimberly Bizon also are running.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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