Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Who’s running against Rashida Tlaib in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District?

Michigan's 12th Congressional District map
Michigan's 12th Congressional District, currently represented in Congress by Democrat Rashida Tlaib, includes Dearborn and portions of Detroit, along with other parts of Wayne and Oakland counties. (State of Michigan)
  • U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is facing Democratic primary challengers in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District
  • Several Republicans are also running running for the seat but face an uphill battle in the reliably Democratic district
  • The 12th District includes Dearborn and part of Detroit, along with other portions of Wayne and Oakland counties. 

LANSING — U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is facing Democratic and Republican challengers as she seeks to win re-election in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District. 

The district, which is anchored by Dearborn and part of Detroit, heavily favors Democrats. It also includes other portions of Wayne and Oakland counties, including the cities of Southfield, Inkster, Garden City and Livonia.


Tlaib, who first won election in 2018, has sparked controversy in Congress but coasted to re-election in 2022, handily defeating Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey in the Democratic primary before winning the general election by nearly 45 percentage points over Republican Steven Elliott, who is running again. 


Local voters backed Democratic Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump by nearly 50 percentage points in 2022. Four years earlier, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 45 points in the district.

A total of six major-party candidates filed petition signatures to qualify for the ballot by the April 23 deadline, including two Democrats and four Republicans. Winners of the Aug. 6 primary will square off in the Nov. 5 general election. Third parties can nominate candidates later in the year. 


Ryan Foster: Foster, whose work experience includes teaching at the Detroit Public Safety Academy High School and running a football team, served in the U.S. Army from 2015 until 2018, according to his campaign. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University in 2022. He ran for the state Senate in 2022 but lost to incumbent Jeremy Moss by more than 65 points in the Democratic primary. Foster says his top priorities include balancing Michigan’s budget, lowering taxes for small businesses and investing in education.

Rashida Tlaib: Prior to taking office, the three-term Congresswoman served in the Michigan House from 2009 to 2015. Tlaib earned her law degree from Western Michigan University’s Thomas Cooley Law School in 2004 and has experience working with nonprofit legal advocacy groups. The Detroit Democrat is the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress, and one of the first two Muslim individuals. She serves on the Committee on Financial Services, the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Oversight and Reform. Tlaib is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, which aligns politically with the Democratic Party’s left wing. Last year, colleagues in the Republican-led U.S. House voted to censure Tlaib for controversial statements she made in response to the Israel-Hamas war. 


Republican candidates:

Steven Elliott: Elliott previously served in the Marines and has worked as a personal trainer, car salesman and tattoo parlor franchise owner, according to his campaign. He says his top priorities include securing the U.S.-Mexico border, funding police forces and rolling back “burdensome regulations” for business owners. He ran against Tlaib in 2022 but lost by more than 123,000 votes in the general election.

James Hooper: Hooper describes himself as a “blue-collar Republican” from Detroit’s east side with a background in the building trades. Another candidate who previously sought to unseat Tlaib, he finished second to Elliott in the 2022 GOP primary. If elected, areas of public polity Hooper says he’s passionate about include promoting American energy independence, lowering taxes and eliminating the U.S. Department of Education.

Hassan Nehme: Born in Farmington Hills, Nehme is an entrepreneur who in 2023 was elected as coalitions vice chair for the Michigan Republican Party. Nehme ran for Congress in 2022 but finished last in the GOP primary.   In that campaign, he said his top priorities were fighting back against critical race theory, advocating for medical freedom and restoring “the freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution.” 

Linda Sawyer: A self-described “Trump supporting, gun-carrying Evangelical,” Sawyer is a registered nurse who attended Northern Michigan University. She is a committee member of the Wayne County Republican Party and was an elected delegate to the 2020 Republican National Convention. Accessible, affordable health care, securing the country’s borders and decriminalizing medical marijuana at the federal level are among Sawyer’s top priorities.

How impactful was this article for you?

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now