Minnesota election results: U.S. House 5th District

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

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

In a year when a record number of women are running for Congress and races across the country include more candidates of color and more gay, lesbian and transgender candidates, Tlaib and Omar add to the diversity of newcomers to the electoral process.

A 42-year-old Michigan Democrat 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. She has captured national attention because of her life story as a refugee who made her way into elected office. She has a bachelor's degree in politics from North Dakota State University and has also studied public affairs.

She chose to run for Congress after Ellison, who is also black, made a decision to give up his seat after 12 years in Congress to run for attorney general of Minnesota.

The victories by the two Democrats - Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib - came on an election night when members of multiple minority groups had a chance to score electoral firsts.

Ilhan Omar in an October file photo. Born in Mogadishu and came to the United States in 1995 at 14-years-old.

She beat Republican Jennifer Zielinski to take Keith Ellison's seat, which he vacated to run for Minnesota attorney general.

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Omar considers herself a Democratic Socialist. She came to the U.S. more than two decades ago as a refugee.

She immigrated to the United States at age 12 and served as a Minneapolis City Council policy aide before winning election to the Legislature in 2016. Her parents were both born in Palestine.

On January 1, 2009, Rashida became the first Muslim American woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature, and the second Muslim woman in history to be elected to any U.S. state legislature.

She graduated from Wayne State University with a BA in political science in 1998 and in 2004, she earned a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Omar will also be the first Congress member to wear a Muslim hijab, or head scarf.

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