Voters will take part in a decisive Michigan Primary
Michigan holds its party primary elections tomorrow (Tuesday.)
There’s a re-match between Democratic candidates in the 13th Congressional district -- which includes a wide stretch of Detroit and some of its suburbs
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is one of the most progressive members of the U-S House and a very vocal critic of President Trump.
She faces long-time Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones who says she can work with people of all views without un-necessarily antagonizing them.
AMB UP – outside neighborhood
In a modest Detroit neighborhood Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is campaigning door-to-door.
She says greeting constituents in-person during a pandemic can be a bit tricky.
TLAIB: “And she goes ‘We gotta take a picture!’ So I said nope put your mask on. So she came down we just did more of a selfie from her door. So that way worked out fine.”
The only Palestinian-American woman ever elected to Congress Tlaib’s become a political rock star in just her first term.
She found funding to improve drinking water and marched with those protesting police brutality.
But Tlaib’s best-known as one of the four young ultra-progressive women of color in the U-S House who call themselves “The Squad.”
TLAIB: “It’s not like we only look different but we also talk differently we also serve differently and we feel differently. All I can do is represent my community. And they’re asking me to speak loudly and very unapologetically.”
Tlaib did just that when she famously and rather colorfully vowed to impeach President Trump.
But her challenger in the upcoming Democratic primary says calling Trump names does not help fix problems in Detroit.
City Council President Brenda Jones says some voters are pushing her to run and set a different tone in Congress.
JONES: “It will allow me to not embarrass the people in the 13th Congressional district.”
The majority African-American district is one of the most poverty-ridden in the nation hit hard by job losses and the coronavirus.
Jones announced in April SHE had tested positive for Covid-19 and is relying on direct mail and virtual campaigning – a tough task in a city where many cannot afford internet subscriptions.
But Jones says she’s already spent years building a reputation for helping poor communities.
JONES: “I’m interested in starting a squad myself a squad of the people that have the poorest districts in the United States of America. That would be my squad.”
Jones actually served in Congress for a month-and-a-half filling the seat vacated by John Conyers amid allegations of sexual harassment.
She lost to Tlaib by one percent in a crowded field vying for the full two-year term.
Since then Tlaib has raised both her national profile and millions of dollars of campaign cash.
Some Jewish groups threatened to back WHOEVER ran against Tlaib after she called for a boycott of Israel.
Yet Jones has praised Louis Farrakhan known for his anti-Semitic remarks.
So the editor of the Detroit Jewish News Andrew Lapin says those donors are staying on the sidelines despite their opinion of Tlaib.
LAPIN: “An enemy of Israel an enemy of the Jewish people someone that should be stopped at all costs. But because Jones is perceived as being very close to Farrakhan many Jews kind of see this race as being between a rock and a hard place.”
AMB UP – Detroit neighborhood
But campaigning door-to-door…passing out sanitizer and tips on where to vote…Tlaib is a hit at every home she visits.
AMB UP – Guy on porch:
UNIDENTIFIED MAN ON PORCH: “But you’re doing a great job. I’m a political guy. I didn’t grow up like that. But these times? They make you like that.”
In a nearby park Detroiter Robert Patterson says he’s lived in the district for half-a-century.
He says in the current political climate Detroit needs Tlaib.
PATTERSON: “Both of them are equally suited for the positions that they are now…and I don’t see any reason to change.”
In this heavily-Democratic district the verdict will come far sooner than November.
Historically whoever wins the Democratic primary wins the general election as well.