Tlaib leading establishment primary challenger as votes trickle in

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Tlaib leading establishment primary challenger as votes trickle in

Progressive "Squad" member Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is leading her establishment primary challenger as votes trickle in Wednesday morning, a si

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Progressive “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is leading her establishment primary challenger as votes trickle in Wednesday morning, a sign of what could be yet another win for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Tlaib beat her challenger, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, in a crowded primary in 2018 before first being elected to her seat, but this time it was Tlaib and Jones head-to-head — and Jones is a popular politician in Detroit with deep roots in the city’s political establishment.

The incumbent Tlaib holds a wide lead in early returns, but there are still many votes yet to be counted and a final result is not likely until later Wednesday.

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“I’m confident in the movement that we started. I’m confident that as we experience this tonight, we are going to see that our country is ready, is ready for someone like me and others that are saying, ’Enough. Enough with corporate greed. Enough with the assault on our families,” Tlaib said in a video to supporters after the polls closed.

Jones in her campaign has criticized Tlaib for being too fond of the limelight and is running on a platform of focusing on the city of Detroit the district.

“As Michigan’s 13th Congressional District Representative, Tlaib has worked hard to become an international rock star,” Jones tweeted in late July. “Representative Tlaib has a huge war chest of nearly $2 million. The money in Rashida Tlaib’s war chest is mostly from people around the world.”

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She added: “This means Tlaib is beholding (sic) to her money people, & not focused on the citizens of the 13th Congressional District.”

Jones also previously knocked Tlaib for calling Trump a “m—–f—–” and booing Hillary Clinton at a Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign event.

But Tlaib held a massive fundraising advantage, and her high profile not just in the district but nationally gave her a distinct advantage over Jones. Plus, there’s momentum for progressive Democrats like Tlaib.

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Fellow squad member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., successfully fended off a well-funded primary challenge by former CNBC personality Michelle Caruso-Cabrera earlier this year. And just Tuesday night, Justice Democrats-backed Cori Bush unseated longtime Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., in a primary in St. Louis.

“From the Bronx to St. Louis, the Squad is here to stay, and it’s still growing,” Justice Democrats tweeted early Wednesday morning.

The Detroit district Tlaib represents is one of the poorest in the country, and the eventual victor between her and Jones will be an overwhelming favorite on election night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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