US Senate race neck-and-neck as Nevada looms

Muslims particularly Pakistanis make history in American mid-term polls

By: News Desk
Published: 03:06 PM, 12 Nov, 2022
US Senate race neck-and-neck as Nevada looms
Caption: US Capitol building.
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President Joe Biden's Democrats edged closer to retaining control of the US Senate on Friday, as Donald Trump prepared to declare his bid for the White House in 2024.

Democratic Senator Mark Kelly won re-election in Arizona, three television networks projected. His victory will give Democrats 49 Senate seats, one short of securing a majority, with Nevada still counting votes and Georgia's contest headed to a December 6 runoff.

Blake Masters, Kelly's Republican opponent in Arizona, did not immediately concede defeat, and late on Friday Trump claimed the result was "a scam and voter fraud".

President Joe Biden phoned Kelly to congratulate him on his win, the White House said.

Trump will announce next week that he is taking another shot at the presidency in 2024, his longtime advisor Jason Miller said Friday.

The divisive former president, who will be 78 when the next election is held, has been hinting at another presidential run while campaigning for Republican candidates ahead of this week's midterm elections, and said he will make a "very big announcement" on Tuesday.

"President Trump is going to announce on Tuesday that he is running for president," Miller told former Trump aide Steve Bannon on his popular "War Room" podcast.

Trump's candidacy would be his third shot at the presidency, including his loss to Biden in 2020. After that defeat, he promoted baseless claims of fraud, including those that led to an unprecedented riot at the US Capitol in Washington.

- Seats flipped -

Trump's big announcement in Florida will come after a disappointing run for several candidates he backed in the midterms, although more than 100 Republican candidates who challenged the 2020 presidential results still won their respective races.

Some of his hand-picked favorites, however, lost key Republican-held seats to Democrats.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats flipped a US Senate seat with constant attacks on Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, who had never held public office and lives mostly in New Jersey.

Trump had hoped to ride a Republican "red wave" that would prime him for another presidential run but the party looks headed for a much smaller victory than had been predicted.

With 211 seats so far, Republicans appear poised to secure a slim majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives. Control of the Senate, however, may come down to a December 6 runoff in the southeastern state of Georgia.

With both parties tied at 49 Senate seats, Democrats now need only one more win to retain control of that chamber, because Vice President Kamala Harris will cast any tie-breaking votes in the upper house.

- January 6 investigation -

Also on Friday, Trump's lawyers challenged a subpoena from the Congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

They claimed he had "absolute immunity" and would not testify next week.

The subpoena is "invalid, unlawful, and unenforceable," the lawyers said in the lawsuit, because Trump "has absolute immunity from being compelled to testify before Congress... regarding his actions as head of a co-equal branch of government."

Trump's early entry into the race may be designed in part to fend off possible criminal charges over taking top secret documents from the White House; his efforts to overturn the 2020 election; and the US Capitol attack.

It may also be intended to undercut his chief potential rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who secured a comfortable re-election and emerged as one of the biggest winners in Tuesday's midterms.

Muslims make history in US elections

Meanwhile, inn Tuesday’s mid-terms, 82 Muslims were elected to federal, state, local and judicial offices across the United States. There are a number of Pakistanis among them. Axios, a news site, reported that a record number of Asian-Americans were elected this year, including several Indians and Pakistanis, said media reports.

“Education is the first step towards empowerment,” says 21-year-old Alisha Khan, who was elected to the board of education in New Brunswick, a city in New Jersey. 

“I graduated from high school only three years ago, so I know what our generation needs,” says Ms Khan, who is the youngest among those elected this year to state legislatures in US mid-term elections.

Her parents migrated to New Jersey from Karachi. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. Together, we made history,” said Salman Bhojani, who is a Pakistani-American, like Alisha and Suleman Lalani. 

Mr Bhojani and Mr Lalani made history as the first Muslims and South Asians elected to the Texas legislature. Both are Democrats.

Now, “we build bridges here, not walls,” said Mr Lalani in an apparent reference to the Trump administration’s decision to build a wall along the Texas-Mexico border to prevent immigration. 

Their victory is also significant because in the Texas legislature, Muslims haven’t always been met with open arms. In 2007, Dan Patrick, then a state senator, boycotted the Texas senate’s first-ever prayer by a Muslim cleric.

Patrick now presides over the senate as lieutenant governor. 

In Tuesday’s mid-terms, 82 Muslims were elected to federal, state, local and judicial offices across the United States. There are a number of Pakistanis among them.  Axios, a news site, reported that a record number of Asian-Americans were elected this year, including several Indians and Pakistanis.

The site did not disclose the exact number, but published several names.  Among them are Shri Thanedar, the first Indian-American elected to the US House of Representatives from Michigan, and Aruna Miller, the first immigrant and first Asian-American elected as Maryland’s lieutenant governor. 

Earlier this week, Jetpac Resource Center and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a final count of 82 local, state legislative, statewide, judicial, and federal American Muslim electoral victories in the mid-term polls.  It is the highest since Jetpac and CAIR started tracking the electoral progress of American Muslims — 71, the previous high-water mark, was set in 2020. 

Of the 29 state-level Muslim incumbents, many were the first Muslims elected to their state’s legislature and kept their seats. The results pushed the total number of Muslim state lawmakers nationwide to 43.

Those re-elected include Madinah Wilson-Anton, a Delaware state representative, Iman Jodeh, a Colorado state representative, and Pakistani- American Saud Anwar, a Colorado state senator. 

In Georgia, incumbent state senator Sheikh Rahman will no longer be the only Muslim in the legislature as two Muslim women won by flipping Republican-held seats. 

Nabilah Islam will become a state senator and Ruwa Romman will represent the state in the House of Representatives. 

In a constituency in Indiana, Muslim Democrat Andre Carson made history by getting elected to Congress for a record seventh time.

He received 116,870 votes against his Republican rival Angela Grabovsky’s 53,487 votes. 

In Michigan, Democrat Rashida Tlaib was elected for the third time.

She received 196,601, defeating Republican Steven Elliot who received 72,889 votes. 

Another Muslim Democrat, Ilhan Omar, was re-elected for the third time from Minnesota. She received 214,217 votes against her Republican rival Cicely Davis’s 70,698 votes.

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim Congressman, was re-elected this year as Minnesota’s attorney general, receiving 1,254,369 votes against his Republican opponent Jim Schultz’s 1,233,571. 

Jetpac and CAIR tracked the election results of a record-breaking 146 American Muslim candidates running for local, state, and federal office, including 51 state legislative candidates running in 23 states.

With inputs from AFP.

Categories : World