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Who’s running against Shri Thanedar in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District?

Michigan's 13th Congressional District map
Michigan's 13th Congressional District, which favors Democrats, is contained within Wayne County, including part of Detroit and downriver. (State of Michigan)
  • U.S. Rep. Shri Thanedar faces a Detroit City Council member and local attorney in the August primary
  • Thanedar is a Democrat who ran for governor in 2018 and has served one term in Congress
  • The 13th District, which is reliably Democratic, includes part of Detroit and a handful of suburbs

LANSING — U.S. Rep. Shri Thanedar is seeking a second term in one of the most reliably Democratic districts in the nation, the 13th Congressional District.

In May, his campaign got a big boost when his well-funded, well-supported opponent, Adam Hollier, was disqualified from the ballot because he failed to turn in enough valid signatures. Thanedar's campaign filed the challenge that disqualified Hollier, a former state senator.

That left out Detroit City Council member Mary Waters and attorney Shakira Lynn Hawkins as Thanedar's sole primary opponents in the district that includes part of Detroit and other Wayne County communities. It stretches from the Grosse Pointes downriver to Ecorse, Southgate and Romulus.


Local voters backed Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump by 50 percentage points in 2020. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 51 points in 2016. 


Thanedar won office two years ago after emerging from a crowded Democratic primary field and beating out Republican Martell Bivings — who is running again  — by roughly 47 percentage points in the general election.  

His victory left Detroit without Black representation for the first time since 1955.

Six major-party candidates filed required petition signatures by the April 23 deadline. Along with Hollier, Alam Mohammad Rabbi was also disqualified from the Democratic primary. 

Winners of the Aug. 6 primary will square off in the Nov. 5 general election. Third parties can nominate candidates at conventions later in the year. 


Shakira Lynn Hawkins: A criminal defense attorney with law degrees from the University of Michigan and Detroit Mercy, Hawkins ran but lost for a judicial position on Michigan’s 3rd Circuit Court in 2020. While she filed to run for Congress in Wayne County, as of late April Hawkins had not yet registered with the Federal Elections Commission or promoted a campaign website. As a judicial candidate in 2020, Hawkins supported reforming the state’s cash bail system and improving jail diversion programming for at-risk youths.

Shri Thanedar: Prior to serving in Congress, Thanedar grew up in southern India and came to the U.S. in 1979 to earn a doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Akron. After becoming a U.S. citizen in 1988, he worked as a researcher and eventual entrepreneur, helping to develop pharmaceutical drugs in the process. Thanedar ran for governor in 2018 but lost the Democratic nomination to now-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. He won election to the Michigan House in 2020 and to Congress in 2022. The Detroit Democrat is a member of the U.S. House’s Committee on Homeland Security and is the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security. Thanedar last year renounced his membership in the Democratic Socialists of America, citing his support for Israel in an ongoing war with Hamas. A former aide later accused Thanedar of leaning on congressional staff for campaign work, which the congressman's chief of staff denied. 

Mary Waters: Another former Michigan lawmaker, Waters represented Detroit in the state House from 2001 until 2006. More recently, she’s served on the Detroit City Council since 2021. In that role, she’s proposed establishing gun free zones in the city’s downtown area. She also chairs the council’s Minority Business Task Force, which pushes city departments to commit to prioritizing local, small business to fulfill city contracts.Waters moved to Michigan as a teenager and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she studied communications and behavioral sciences, according to her city council biography. 



Martell Bivings: Bivings, a former business liaison with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, ran against Thanedar in 2022 and lost by nearly 50 percentage points in the general election. While he had not set up a new campaign website as of April, Bivings previously ran on issues like expanding federal programs like social security, Medicaid and living assistance for senior citizens, strengthening protections for the Great Lakes and building accountability into federal welfare programs.

Editor's note: This story was updated on May 22 to reflect that Adam Hollier was disqualified from the ballot.

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