Shri Thanedar wins U.S. House District 13; Detroit will have no Black representation in Congress

Democrat Shri Thanedar – an Indian-American entrepreneur and current state representative – will represent most of Detroit in Washington, D.C., starting next year, after beating Republican Martell Bivings in Tuesday’s general election.

Thanedar, 67, had earned more than 72% of the vote when the Associated Press called the U.S. House District 13 race over Bivings, 35.

AP called the race at 1:18 a.m.

The newly redrawn district includes most of Detroit, plus some downriver communities like Lincoln Park, Taylor, Wyandotte and Romulus.

“Growing up in abject poverty, I never would have thought I would have this opportunity to serve in the House of Representatives,” Thanedar said in a news release. “This truly is an honor of a lifetime. Thank you to my amazing team, my family, volunteers, and voters who helped make this campaign successful.”

Thanedar’s victory means Detroit won’t have Black representation in Congress for the first time in nearly 70 years.

District 12 also includes a section of Detroit, but neither major candidate is Black – including incumbent Democrat Rashida Tlaib, who’s a Palestinian American.

Detroit has had a Black representative in Congress ever since Charles Diggs was elected in 1954, becoming Michigan’s first African American in Congress. Detroit is 77% Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But Thanedar has made a point to show he plans to fight for African Americans in Detroit. He supports reparations and talks of how Black and Brown people have been disproportionately effected on issues like health care and voting rights.

“The COVID-19 pandemic showed the disparity in healthcare coverage, especially in Black and Brown communities,” Thanedar said in a League of Women Voters questionnaire. “That’s why we need to ensure everyone can see a doctor when they’re sick, and the best way to do that is through a single-payer system like Medicare for All.”

Thanedar also made mention of it in his victory news release, saying he plans to fight for “racial justice.”

Bivings, a Black Republican with a communications degree from Howard University, stood on a platform centered on tax cuts and less government overreach. He argued against required COVID-19 vaccines, masking and business shutdowns.

While Thanedar argues we should shift toward renewable resources, Bivings said he doesn’t support any environmental and energy policies because they increase inflation and gas prices. He prefers the U.S. tap more into its oil supply and export more oil.

“After speaking with thousands of residents throughout the new 13th — (environment and energy) issues did not come up,” Bivings said in the questionnaire. “At this very moment in America, we have a formula shortage. A parent wanting to feed their infant is not thinking about the environment and energy.”

Bivings also argued for tax incentives for families that made $75,000 or more.

Thanedar supports free early childhood education, free public higher education, expanding vocational training and raising the minimum wage.

This marks Thanedar’s second consecutive successful campaign after losing to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan’s 2018 governor primary election – where he finished third.

Thanedar won a state house seat in Detroit in 2020 and beat a laundry list of Democrats in this August’s U.S. House District 13 primary – including State Sen. Adam Hollier, Portia Roberson and John Conyers III – to advance to November.

Thanedar has a Ph.D in chemistry and is a multimillionaire entrepreneur.

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