Posted on August 7, 2022

Detroit — More Than Three-Quarters Black in the Last Census — May Soon Be Without Black Representation in Congress

Associated Press, August 4, 2022

State Rep. Shri Thanedar won the Democratic primary in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District this week, topping a field of nine candidates in a district that covers most of Detroit and potentially leaving the predominantly Black city next term without Black representation in Congress for the first time since the early 1950s.

Results from Tuesday’s election show Thanedar, an immigrant from India, defeating state Rep. Adam Hollier and attorney Portia Roberson. Martell Bivings, who is Black, ran unopposed in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the 13th District, but is a longshot to win the general election in the heavily Democratic district.

Detroit has not been without a Black representative in Congress since before Charles Diggs Jr. took office in 1955. Diggs was joined in Congress in 1965 by Democrat John Conyers, who retained his congressional seat for more than 50 years.

Detroit is nearly 80% Black, and all of the other candidates in the primary were Black.


The 13th — redrawn through redistricting after Michigan lost a seat following the census — is currently represented by Democrat Rashida Tlaib, who ran in the redrawn 12th Congressional District and won Tuesday.

The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission in January finalized the U.S. House and legislative maps that will last 10 years. The plans are fairer politically to Democrats but have drawn criticism from Black legislators and the state’s civil rights department because they slash the number of seats where African Americans account for a majority of the voting-age population.

A federal lawsuit subsequently filed on behalf of a group of current and former Black state lawmakers in Detroit seeks to block the newly drawn districts, contending they illegally dilute the voting strength of African Americans.


The suit alleges violations of the U.S. Voting Rights Act and the Michigan Constitution. The No. 1 map-drawing criteria for the panel was to comply with the 1965 law, which bans discriminatory voting practices and procedures.

“We’ve been alleging this all along, that it will take a miracle for some of these individuals to win,” Ayad said Wednesday. “This is no surprise. Why should they be the sacrificial lambs. It’s a very, very sad day for the African American power base that worked for decades to get where they are.”