First two Muslim women elected to US Congress

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are set to become the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress

The seat had been held by Keith Ellison, who left it to run for state attorney general.

A onetime Somali refugee and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants shared the historic distinction Tuesday of becoming the first two Muslim women elected to the US Congress.

Tlaib, 42, also has a history of breaking barriers: In 2008 she became the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature.

She said her political life began attending local Democratic Farmer Labor party caucuses with her grandfather after arriving in the US.

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American Democrat running for the House in Minnesota, could join Tlaib in Congress.

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Tlaib ran unopposed in Michigan's 13th district House race, but fended off a last-minute write-in challenge from a woman she defeated in the August primary.

"I made a decision to run because I was one of many people I knew who really wanted to demonstrate what representative democracies are supposed to be", she said.

Rashida is also the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress.

She won a seat in the state's legislature in 2016, becoming the first Somali-American lawmaker in the country. After the start of the civil war in 1991, she and her family fled Somalia and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.

Like Omar, Tlaib championed progressive policies, including a Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage and immigration reform.

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Omar campaigned on a similarly progressive platform, which calls for universal healthcare and tuition-free colleges.

Minnesota's 5th Congressional District includes Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs that usually tilt Democratic.

Like Omar, she blazed a trail through MI politics, becoming the first Muslim woman to serve in the MI state legislature in 2008.

A total of 239 women were on the ballot for the midterms.

"Regardless of whether we win or lose, this gets to shift the narrative of what is possible", she said.

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