Shri Thanedar at the Metro Times office.
First-term state Rep. Shri Thanedar made it official: He’s running for the congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
The Democrat filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday to run for the 13th District seat, which covers large chunks of Detroit and Dearborn Heights, as well as all of Ecorse, Garden City, Highland Park, Inkster, Melvindale, Redford Township, River Rouge, Romulus, Wayne, and Westland.
The seat has been held by Democrats since 1949.
“My focus is on bringing federal dollars to Detroit to address infrastructure problems, economic inequalities, and to improve quality of life for the residents,” Thanedar tells Metro Times
. “I will also seek federal assistance in the form of reparations to address decades of systemic racism in urban America.”
Whether Thanedar will face off with Tlaib in the 2022 primary election is not yet known. Congressional districts are being redrawn, and Michigan is losing a U.S. House seat because of the state’s sluggish population growth.
While the 13th District will look different, drafts of the map show that it would encompass a big chunk of Detroit and include the home addresses of Thanedar and Tlaib.
Thanedar says he suspects Tlaib will run in the new 12th District seat because “62% of her old 13th District overlaps with the new 12th, plus she gets Dearborn, where she is popular.”
Tlaib's campaign says she hasn't decided yet which seat she'll seek.
“Congresswoman Tlaib continues to have the trust and enthusiasm of voters in every corner and across the current 13th Congressional District," campaign spokesman Denzel McCampbell tells Metro Times
. "Many residents have reached out, concerned about losing her as their representative. Rep. Tlaib and our team are closely watching the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission as they approach their final vote on the proposed maps. However, until we know how the final districts will look, we cannot comment on a final decision on a district. No matter what happens, Congresswoman Tlaib looks forward to running a robust re-election campaign and continuing to deliver exceptional constituent services and transformative legislation for residents in Detroit and surrounding communities."
Thanedar, a Democrat and multimillionaire who made his fortune in the pharmaceutical industry, burst onto the political scene in 2018, spending more than $10 million of his own money to run for governor. He finished third in the Democratic primary election, but won Detroit, where the campaign focused much of its energy.
Thanedar moved from Ann Arbor to Detroit in 2019 and was elected to the state House
a year later after spending more than $300,000 on the race.
Since becoming a state representative, Thanedar has introduced 19 bills and resolutions, including one signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that increases funding for environmental monitoring.
MI For Progressive Change, a political action committee, said it’s opposed to Thanedar’s candidacy.
"Thanedar is the embodiment of young people’s frustrations with our political system,” MFPC Co-Chair Ali Allam said in a statement. “We need progressive fighters with real grassroots support, not wealthy opportunists who think they can flood airwaves with poll-tested messaging and earn votes. MFPC will fight tooth and nail to make sure that Shri’s attempt at buying his way into office is unsuccessful.”
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