Rashida Tlaib coasts to second term in Congress

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Democratic U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit won reelection Wednesday to her second term in Congress.

Tlaib was leading Republican challenger David Dudenhoefer of Detroit 67% to 29% with 64% of precincts reporting unoffical results. 

Dudenhoefer, who lives in the Boston-Edison historic district, has chaired the 13th Congressional District Republican Committee since 2013. 

Tlaib, along with three fellow progressive members dubbed "The Squad," is poised to wield more influence in a Democratic-controlled House in a sophomore term.

The daughter of Palestinian immigrants made history as one of the two first Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018.

She has since represented the 13th District, which includes portions of Detroit and Wayne County suburbs including Highland Park, Inkster, River Rouge, Ecorse, Westland and part of Romulus. 

Tlaib's agenda for her second term includes addressing discrimination in auto insurance rates, passing her anti-poverty BOOST Act, and a new civil rights bill that would allow victims to file discrimination lawsuits based on disparate impact to a class of people. 

A former state lawmaker, Tlaib's campaign stressed her record of fighting for working families, environmental justice and anti-poverty measures, guided by legislative work groups made up of constituents who weigh in on bills such as tackling auto insurance rates.

U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district Rashida Tlaib speaks during the voter mobilization event in Inkster.

Tlaib had raised nearly $3.85 million toward her reelection to Dudenhoefer's $906,500, according to disclosure reports through Oct. 14. 

The 44-year-old Detroit native defeated Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones in the August Democratic primary 66% to 34% in a rematch for the seat long held by the late U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. 

Tlaib attributed her primary victory to her team's strong constituent services and overall hard work on the campaign trail — a political machine she planned to reactivate to help send former Vice President Joe Biden to the White House, even though she never formally endorsed him.

Unions largely backed Tlaib this cycle, as well as local and national environmental, progressive and anti-poverty groups, the Wayne County Democratic Black Caucus, the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party organization and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In her freshman year, Tlaib's national profile skyrocketed as a member of the progressive "squad" of friends, freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

They have sparred on social media with President Donald Trump, who last summer said the four Democratic congresswomen of color should return to their countries, including the Detroit-born Tlaib.