House Speaker Pelosi endorses Tlaib's re-election over Jones

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, on Wednesday as the first-term congresswoman faces a primary challenge from the Detroit City Council's president who served five weeks in Congress.

"Rep. Rashida Tlaib is a tireless advocate for the residents of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District," Pelosi, D-California, said in a press release. "Her leadership has secured critical funding to stop water shutoffs and replace lead pipes."

She added, "Rep. Tlaib never stops fighting for her district, which she is proud to represent. And I am proud to endorse her for re-election."

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as he testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, on Facebook's impact on the financial services and housing sectors.

An independent group called Concerned Citizens of Michigan, which is backing Council President Brenda Jones in the race, had sent out a mailer featuring a photo of Pelosi standing with Jones. The council president hopes to unseat Tlaib in Tuesday's primary election.

Jones has accused Tlaib — a member of a group of progressive Democratic lawmakers known as "the squad" — of chasing celebrity instead of policy changes in Washington.

In 2018, Tlaib and Jones were two of a handful of Democratic candidates who sought to replace U.S. Rep. John Conyers after the Detroit Democrat decided to leave office.

Jones won the partial term by about 2 percentage points, allowing her to serve in Congress for about five weeks. But Tlaib won the full two-year term by about 1 percentage point. On Tuesday, Tlaib and Jones will be the only Democratic candidates on the ballot.

In 2018, Pelosi worked with then-U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, on a deal to have Jones sworn in for the shortened term while she continued to serve on the Detroit City Council.

In this primary election, Tlaib has a large fundraising advantage, raising $3.1 million since the 2018 election. Jones has reported raising $169,930.

Among those who have endorsed Jones are Westland Mayor William Wild and former state Sens. Ian Conyers and Coleman Young, Detroit Democrats who ran for the 13th District seat in 2018.

Tlaib's other endorsements include the United Auto Workers and Michigan AFL-CIO.

Staff Writer Melissa Nann Burke contributed