Record 57 Muslims elected in recent US elections

Harun Nasrullah

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Fifty-seven of the record 110 Muslim candidates who stood for seats in the US general election won their elections on November 3, according to a tally by Jetpac, CAIR, MPower Change. A total of some 170 Muslim candidates ran in all of 2020, almost 30 more than the previous high of 134 candidates who ran in 2018.

Record Muslim turnout

More than one million American Muslims participated in the US election, with nearly 70 % voting for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, CAIR exit poll has shown. The poll showed that 84 per cent of 844 registered Muslim voter households said that they have voted. The poll said 69 % of their registered Muslim voters voted for Biden and 17 % for President Donald Trump. It noted that Trump received 4 % more support of the Muslim vote, compared to the 2016 election, in which then he received 13 %.

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Return of the incumbents

Eight of the candidates were on the ballot for Congress in seven states, including Democrat incumbents Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and André Carson who all won re-election. Mike Siegel lost a close race to represent the 10th Congressional District in Texas.Omar won in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District whereas Tlaib won in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. Ilhan and Rashida are the first Muslim women elected to the Congress in 2018.

Omar, 38, the first Somali American member of Congress, won a second defeating her Republican challenger,by 64.6 % of the vote to 25.9 %. Omar has built a national profile that started when the one-time refugee from Somalia was elected to the Minnesota Legislature in 2016.

Omar’s aggressive advocacy on liberal issues, anti-Israel comments and eagerness to take on President Donald Trump made her prominent. She has frequently become a target of defamatory comments from the President and other Republicans. Trump ramped up his repeated xenophobic attack on Omar ahead of the elections and said his party would win Minnesota because of Omar.

At a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on September 30, he caused the crowd to burst into a chant of “lock her up.” Addressing a crowd at a campaign rally event in Pennsylvania on September 22, Trump suggested the US is not the home of the Omar, “She’s telling us how to run our country. How did you do where you came from? How is your country doing?”

After the victory, Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent said that in her second term in Congress she would give top priority to preventing Covid-19 and would still press for human rights in Palestine. he two women are part of a quartet of the like-minded congresswomen known as “The Squad” who are admired on the Left for challenging the status quo in Washington.

Squad members Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York also retained their seats. Carson has been re-elected in the 7th District of Indiana he was first elected to Congress in 2008. He previously served on the Indianapolis City Council. He won the primary in May with nearly 88 % of the vote. Carson won a special election in 2008 after the death of the previous representative, his grandmother Julia Carson.

All Democrat history-makers

In Delaware, Madinah Wilson-Anton will be the first practising Muslim lawmaker to serve in the state’s General Assembly and the first Muslim to hold the local state house seat when she is inaugurated as the State Representative for the 26th District.

Samba Baldeh became first the Muslim elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly and the first Black man to represent Dane County in the legislature.

Christopher Benjamin won the race to represent the 107th District in the Florida House of Representatives, becoming the first Muslim elected to any state office in Florida.

Nafisa Fai became the first Muslim and first Black commissioner in Washington County history when she won her race to represent District 1 in Oregon. Twenty-five years ago, Fai was in a Kenyan refugee camp after escaping war-torn Somalia. Fai cemented a 2-year-old Democratic majority, which for decades was dominated by Republicans.

Iman Jodeh, the State Rep-elect for the 41st District in the Colorado House of Representatives, will be the first Muslim lawmaker in the state’s history.

Fady Qaddoura, 40, became the first Muslim elected to the Indiana Statehouse with his victory over state Sen. John Ruckelshaus. Qaddoura, who worked as a controller in Indianapolis, won with 52.5 % of the vote with 4k-vote margin.

Mauree Turner won the State Rep-elect for the Oklahoma 88th District, he will be the first Muslim lawmaker elected to the state’s legislature.

Zohran Kwame Mamdani along with Jennifer Rajkumar became the first South Asian to win a seat in the New York State Assembly.

The article first appeared in The Muslim News, and has been republished here.

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