US House race to watch: Rashida Tlaib vs David Dudenhoefer

Democratic Muslim congresswoman Tlaib looks poised for a second term in Michigan’s 13th congressional district.

Tlaib speaks at a rally in support of the United States Postal Service in Southfield, Michigan [Rebecca Cook/Reuters]
Tlaib speaks at a rally in support of the United States Postal Service in Southfield, Michigan [Rebecca Cook/Reuters]

Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is running for re-election in the US state of Michigan.

Tlaib ran unopposed in the general election in 2018 and became the first woman of Palestinian descent in Congress.

Michigan’s 13th congressional district is a Democratic stronghold.

The candidates

Tlaib is running against Republican challenger David Dudenhoefer.

Three other candidates are also in the race for Michigan’s 13th congressional district election: D Etta Wilcoxon of the Green Party, Articia Bomer of the US Taxpayers Party of Michigan and Sam Johnson for the Working Class Party.

Their backgrounds

 

Tlaib, a Palestinian who was born and raised in Detroit, was one of the first two female Muslim members of Congress alongside Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar.

The 44-year-old is a lawyer by profession.

As a state legislator, she sought to defend Detroit’s poor, taking on refineries and a billionaire trucking magnate who she accused of polluting city neighbourhoods.

One of the most visible progressive Democrats in Congress, Tlaib is a member of the so-called “Squad” of four liberal congresswomen first elected in 2018.

Her main challenger, Dudenhoefer, nicknamed “Dude”, has not held political office before.

Since 2013, the Detroit resident has served as the chairman for the 13th Congressional District Republican Committee.

Issues

 

Tlaib advocates progressive positions associated with the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, such as universal healthcare, a higher minimum wage, environmental protection and affordable university tuition.

She has come under fire for her comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and her support for the BDS movement, which seeks to use non-violent means to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories

Last year, Israel barred her and Omar from entering the country because of “their boycott activities against Israel”.

Race and religion are major factors in this district, where more than half of the residents are Black, while the rest are a mix of white, Arab American, Latino and other races.

Dudenhoefer has campaigned to address human trafficking and reform the police system.

As part of his campaign fundraising, Dudenhoefer raffled an AR-15 rifle to show support for the 2nd Amendment rights.

“We must defeat this insane radical in November before her reign of terrorising common decency continues,” he said on Twitter.

Outlook

Tlaib is expected to win in this left-leaning district.

With no Republican candidate in the 2018 race, Tlaib secured a landslide win with 84 percent of the votes ahead of the Working Class Party candidate.

Source : Al Jazeera and News agencies

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