El-Sayed eligible to continue run for Michigan Governor

El-Sayed eligible to continue run for Michigan Governor
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El-Sayed eligible to continue run for Michigan Governor

Michigan politics is not only messy, but the news media there is often driven by racism especially against Arab American candidates. Rumors, innuendos and ridiculous birther claims would normally be ignored if about non-Arabs but when an Arab is involved, they suddenly become front page headlines. The voter popularity of Abdul El-Sayed, who announced his candidacy for Michigan Governor, is building in the polls and he is considered a real threat to the Democratic frontrunner in the Democratic primary election contest, Gretchen Whitmir. No wonder they want him off.

By Ray Hanania

Opponents in the hotly contested race for Michigan Governor challenged whether Democrat Abdul El-Sayed could run for the office of governor, arguing he was not registered to vote in Michigan.

A native and Shelby Township in Michigan, El-Sayed was challenged because he registered to vote in New York while attending graduate school and was working as a professor there. The state law requires that candidates for governor be registered electors in the state for four years before running for the office.

But, the former Federal Election Commission Chairman Robert Lenhard issued a statement saying El-Sayed is qualified to run.

Abdul El-Sayed with members of the Michigan Women's March in 2017. Photo courtesy of El-Sayed's Facebook Page.

Abdul El-Sayed with members of the Michigan Women’s March in 2017. Photo courtesy of El-Sayed’s Facebook Page.

But, as the only Arab American on either Democratic or Republican primary ballots in the Michigan election, anti-Arab critics, including in the mainstream news media, have targeted him to have him thrown off the ballot, asserting a claim that he is not qualified to run because of his previous registration while at school in New York.

The claim is ridiculous, of course. Many candidates win office not by defeating their rivals at the polls but by throwing off popular candidates and removing them from the ballot.

Polls show El-Sayed to be the most credible challenger int he Democratic primary contest to frontrunner Gretchen Whitmer.

El-Sayed first voted in Michigan at the age of 18 in 2003, but re-registered to vote legally in New York while teaching there in 2012.

English: Senator Whitmer

Former Michigan State Senator Gretchen Whitmer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many observers believe that  the challenge is purely political. But here is El-Sayed’s press release quoting Commission Chairman Robert Lenhard defending his right to stay in the race.

The Democratic and Republican Primary elections are held on August 7, 2018. The winner of each party primary will then face-off against each other in the November 6, 2018 General election.

BREAKING: Former FEC Chairman: El-Sayed is Eligible

“The issue is a red herring”

This afternoon, former Federal Election Commission Chairman Robert Lenhard issued the below statement on Abdul El-Sayed’s eligibility:

“We have looked at this question closely and are confident Abdul El-Sayed is qualified to run for Governor of Michigan.  He is a life-long resident of Michigan.  He was born here, went to school here, and married here.  He has been a property owner, a taxpayer, a registered voter and a resident of Michigan throughout the qualifying period under State law. Michigan law has never held that absences from the state for school or work cause you to lose your residence.  This issue is just a red herring.

Robert Lenhard is a partner at Covington & Burling, LLP. He previously served as the Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). He led the Obama-Biden transition team responsible for the FEC. He is currently outside counsel to the campaign.

“Abdul is a son of Michigan – born and raised in this state, went to public schools in this state, and had a daughter in this state.

There are those out there who are worried about what the success of our movement means for their chokehold on political power. Rather than do the work, they’re pushing backroom coronations and deals to promote candidates that fall in line around the usual ‘bought and sold’ brand of politics they’ve always pushed. But, this time, it’s not working. Only one campaign is building the momentum of a grassroots movement, and that’s worrying them. This is how the establishment reacts when they don’t get their way and someone spoils their plans.

Let’s be clear: this is a political attack, and nothing more. And it falls in line with a long history of attacks on certain kinds of people when they aspire to leadership in our democracy. We knew attacks like this were coming since day one – it happened when Barack Hussein Obama had the audacity to run for President, and his opponents questioned his belonging too. While we knew the attacks were coming, we didn’t think they would come in the form of insider Democrats using Trump’s birther tactics.” – Adam Joseph, Communications Director, Abdul for Michigan

On Monday, El-Sayed unveiled a comprehensive urban agenda which includes policy proposals on Affordable Housing, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, strong urban economies, public transit and auto insurance reform.

El-Sayed’s overall urban agenda breaks with the mindset that leads cities to effectively bribe Amazon to attract its headquarters” – David Dayen, The Nation

The full Urban Agenda can be found here, or on our website at AbdulForMichigan.com/Cities

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is a physician, Rhodes Scholar, and former professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. At the age of 30, he took over the City of Detroit’s health department, becoming the youngest ever health commissioner of a major U.S. city.

Official Campaign Website: AbdulforMichigan.com

Facebook: facebook.com/AbdulforMichigan

Twitter: twitter.com/AbdulElSayed


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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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