Case Studies

Rashida Tlaib

Michigan’s 13th Congressional District has been represented by a Democrat in every Congress but one since 1941. When John Conyers resigned in 2017, the question wasn’t if a Democrat would succeed him, but which one.

The primary for the special election to finish Conyers’s term ran concurrent with the primary for the 2018 election, and six Democrats were vying for the seat, including a popular Detroit city councilmember and a state senator who was the grandnephew of Conyers himself.

Other candidates had stronger bases, but we knew Rashida Tlaib was the fighter that progressive Democrats were increasingly demanding in the age of Trump. By telling the real stories of the progressive battles Rashida waged and won as a lawyer, activist, and state legislator, we were able to help convince voters that she had the passion and experience to stand strong against attacks on progressive values.

It was a close race, and the two concurrent races produced different results. In the primary for the special election, Rashida won 35.9% of the vote while Councilmember Brenda Jones won 37.7%. Jones would go on to finish Representative Conyers’ term. But in the primary for the 2018 election, Tlaib prevailed by 900 votes. On November 6th, she became the first Muslim woman to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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