Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar both made history on Tuesday by becoming the first Muslim women to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
Tlaib won the congressional seat for Michigan’s 13th district after former Representative John Conyers abruptly stepped down following sexual harassment allegations, leaving the seat vacant.
The Palestinian-American Muslim ran under the Democratic Party, having previously served six years in the state legislature.
With no Republican opponent, Tlaib defeated Etta Wilcoxon of the Green Party and Sam Johnson of the Working Class Party.
The seat Omar won, Minnesota’s 5th district, was formerly held by Rep. Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim to take a seat in Congress. Ellison did not run for re-election as he sought the state attorney generalship.
Omar, another Democrat, is a Somali-American who came to the U.S. over two decades ago as a refugee. She campaigned on a progressive platform and won the endorsement of the Democratic Party’s fledging progressive wing, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
She ran against and defeated Republican candidate Jennifer Zielinski, becoming the first congresswoman to wear a hijab.