WASHINGTON – Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib is poised to become the first Muslim woman ever elected to Congress, after appearing to beat a crowded field to win the primary in her Detroit district Tuesday night.
Tlaib is in a good position to win the general election on Nov. 6 in Michigan's heavily Democratic 13th congressional district, which is made up of portions of Detroit and its suburbs. The 41-year-old is likely to face Republican David Dudenhoefer, who did not qualify for the ballot but is expected to run as a write-in candidate.
Rep. John Conyers, who served in the House for more than 50 years, represented the district before resigning in December amid allegations that he sexually harassed female staff members.
While there has never been a Muslim woman in Congress, there are currently two Muslim men serving in the House: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and André Carson, D-Ind.
Here's a look at Tlaib:
She is used to being a 'first'
Tlaib made history in 2008 by becoming the first Muslim woman ever elected to the Michigan state legislature and only the second Muslim woman ever elected to a state legislature anywhere in the U.S. She served three terms in the House, becoming the Democratic leader of the powerful Appropriations Committee.
Tlaib, in her campaign biography, said she focused on getting more money for education, free health clinics, after-school programs for children, and Meals on Wheels nutrition programs for senior citizens.
She wrote laws to protect consumers from mortgage and tax scams and to stop scrap metal thieves from looting private property in Detroit.
She's a Detroit native
Tlaib was born and raised in Detroit. She attended Detroit public schools and graduated from Southwestern High School. She went on to earn her bachelor's degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and her law degree from Western Michigan University.
Tlaib and her husband, Fayez Tlaib, have two sons.
She's the daughter of immigrants
Tlaib is the oldest of 14 children born to Palestinian immigrant parents. Her father, who was born near Jerusalem, worked on the assembly line at the Ford Motor Co. plant.
She worked as a legal advocate
After serving three terms in the legislature, Tlaib could not run for her seat again because of the state's term limits. She went to work as an attorney and advocate for the non-profit Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice in Detroit.
While at the center, Tlaib worked on campaigns to combat anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry, oppose tax breaks for billionaires and wealthy corporations, force the state to return millions of dollars to thousands of people unjustly accused of unemployment benefit fraud, and stop the dumping of toxic chemicals into the Detroit River.
She's a progressive Democrat
Tlaib is from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, whose leaders in Congress include Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
Among the progressive groups that endorsed her: Democracy for America, People for Bernie, Our Revolution, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and the Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America.
She was also endorsed by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who was elected to Congress in 2016 with support from Sanders and other progressives.
She accused Arab rights leader of harassment
Tlaib was among a group of women who accused the longtime director of the Michigan office of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of sexual harassment.
Imad Hamad, who spent 17 years with the biggest Arab-American civil rights group in the U.S., retired in 2013 after mounting pressure for him to leave because of the harassment allegations.
"I'm relieved that Imad won't be in a position where he might hurt more women," Tlaib told the Detroit Free Press in November of 2013.