‘US ready for 1st Mus­lim gov­er­nor’:

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Per­haps no state has em­braced the po­lit­i­cal out­sider as much as Michi­gan, where a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist won the last two gov­er­nor’s elec­tions and a real es­tate baron car­ried the pres­i­den­tial vote. Now Dr Ab­dul El-Sayed is putting that affin­ity for new­com­ers to the test.

El-Sayed, a 32-year-old lib­eral doc­tor in Detroit, is mount­ing a sur­pris­ingly ro­bust bid to be­come the na­tion’s first Mus­lim gov­er­nor.

Demo­cratic lead­ers are stunned by the sud­den emer­gence of the former Rhodes scholar, who served as Detroit public health di­rec­tor, in the pri­mary field af­ter he quickly raised $1 mil­lion.

He is one of four vi­able Democrats and, for now, three Repub­li­cans in a race that his party con­sid­ers a must-win to re-es­tab­lish it­self af­ter eight years of GOP con­trol of state gov­ern­ment.

Michi­gan has one of the largest Arab pop­u­la­tions out­side the Mid­dle East, but is it ready to elect a Mus­lim as chief ex­ec­u­tive? El-Sayed says yes, though he in­sists the elec­tion will be about his qual­i­fi­ca­tions and grass­roots move­ment.

“I think folks are look­ing for some­thing fresh, new, ex­cit­ing, com­pe­tent. And we of­fer that,” said the self-as­sured El-Sayed, who em­pha­sizes his work re­build­ing Detroit’s health de­part­ment af­ter the city’s bank­ruptcy.

Po­lit­i­cal in­sid­ers are not sure about the re­li­gious com­plex­i­ties but are im­pressed by his fundrais­ing.

“No one ex­pected El-Sayed to raise that kind of money — no one,” said poll­ster Ed Sar­po­lus. (AP)

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