Rashida Tlaib facing primary from gun-toting Janice Winfrey

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Rashida Tlaib facing primary from gun-toting Janice Winfrey

A Detroit grandmother running for Congress is literally up in arms.

Janice Winfrey, the city’s longtime city clerk, has launched a primary challenge to incumbent “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib and says the district is now so unsafe she needs to carry a gun.

“I can’t go to the park by myself anymore and that is concerning to me,” the 62-year-old Democrat told The Post, explaining why she purchased her 22-caliber pistol.

“I would like not to have to carry the gun. I don’t want the gun in my house. I have a 2-year old granddaughter. It’s locked in a safe in a closet on the top shelf. I don’t like it. We don’t believe in that, but I have to feel safe,” said Winfrey, who has served as clerk since 2006.

Winfrey said it was actually a run-in with a Trump supporter after the 2020 presidential election that sent her over the edge. As a city clerk, her work put her directly in the crosshairs of those who claimed the election had been stolen.

“I was walking to my neighborhood park just recovering from COVID. This big white guy comes up to me — and I live in a black community — and says, ‘Ms. Winfrey I am looking for you. Why did you allow Trump to lose?’ There was an exchange,” She recalled.

Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib
Winfrey questioned Tlaib’s record on fighting crime in the area.
REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

“I told him I would spit on him if he didn’t get out my face. I had COVID. That was all I had,” Winfrey said, adding the confrontation only de-escalated after a neighbor happened to drive by and intercede.

Winfrey says Tlaib has done nothing to fight crime in the district. In the past, Tlaib has supported a raft of legislation well beyond just defunding cops. The BREATHE Act, which she co-sponsored, would shutter all federal prisons within the next decade. She has attacked cash bail as “cruel,” and also put her name to legislation that would have used coronavirus as an excuse to empty jails and prisons.

“I haven’t seen anything that she has done as it relates to public safety and gun violence. I know she has marched with BLM and that’s good, but have you talked with our chief of police or met with law enforcement officers? Have you made suggestions? When you say defund [the police], what are you really saying?” Winfrey asked.

U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib
Insiders said Winfrey’s campaign would be instantly viable against the polarizing Tlaib.
REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Winfrey claimed she has raised more than $125,000 in barely a month on the trail. Winfrey spent the week in Washington D.C. raising cash and plans to meet with the influential Congressional Black Caucus.

Additionally, she chided Tlaib for voting against President Biden’s infrastructure bill, and her positions on Israel.

“I support Israel. I support peace. I know that Israel is our only ally in the Middle East and I also know that Israel brings a lot to the table. We need Israel, just like they need us,” Winfrey said, adding she opposed the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel which Tlaib embraced.

Insiders said her campaign would be instantly viable against the polarizing imcumbent.

“Janice Winfrey is going to mount a serious effort. She’s won four times citywide and is putting together the resources to mount an aggressive campaign. She’s also spent the last years relentlessly working her district while her opponent seems more to be relentlessly working the national press corp,” said Chris Coffey, Co-CEO of Tusk Strategies and a veteran Democratic political consultant.

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