If he wins, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed will be the first Muslim-American governor in US history but right now that's looking like a pretty big IF.
That's because El-Sayed's right to run for office in Michigan is currently being challenged by his OWN party, revealing that the schism that brought the Democratic party to it's knees in 2016 is still alive and well.
Supporters of Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed are attacking reports questioning his eligibility to run. The uproar exposes deep-seated suspicions between warring Democratic Party factions Via @HuffPostPol @danielmarans https://t.co/eXYb9RG98Y— David Thomas Sutton (@DTSutton) February 2, 2018
According to the Huffington Post, all the hubbub started on Wednesday with the publication of a piece by Michigan’s Bridge Magazine. The article, citing a little known state law that requires any candidate running for state office to be a registered voter in Michigan, in the four years prior to their run for office, makes the case that El-Sayed may not legally be eligible to run for the Governor's office.
That's because El-Sayed, a native Michigander who attended medical school in New York in 2012, was registered to vote in Manhattan as recently as 2015 and apparently, used a New York driver's license when he re-registered in Michigan in 2016.
El-Sayed took to Twitter to state his concerns directly to the public:
-often resorting to the kinds of Trump birther tactics that the GOP used against @BarackObama. It’s really heartbreaking. But we don’t back down. Every time they attack me, they attack you- & so I move forward on this path, unapologetically, without a doubt in what we strive for.— Abdul El-Sayed (@AbdulElSayed) January 29, 2018
If it weren't for the fact that El-Sayed is a progressive Dem, whose ideals aligned with Bernie Sanders in the last presidential election, and that polls on Ballotopedia show he is the candidate with the best chance against front-runner establishment Democrat and former state senator, Gretchen Whitmer, this registration discrepancy may never have been discovered.
Still, El-Sayed and his team maintain that they have assurances from lawyers about his eligibility. This is due in part to the fact that it is perfectly legal to be registered to vote in more than one state AND because he and his wife have owned an apartment in Ann Arbor since 2008, thereby establishing, "a continuous line of residency."
El-Sayed's spokesman, Adam Joseph, had stronger allegations to make as to why this controversy was being dredged up against the candidate when told Michigan's Bridge Magazine:
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.
El-Sayed reiterated those allegations himself on Twitter:
The racist attacks, the constant internet bullying, and the well-meaning folks who bring their implicit bias out every time they say that Michigan’s not big enough to elect a Muslim-American with a name like mine.— Abdul El-Sayed (@AbdulElSayed) January 29, 2018
The Michigan Democratic party, fearing that a win by El-Sayed could then be challenged by Republicans, called for the candidate to get a court ruling on whether or not he is indeed eligible to run:
Michigan Democratic Party calls on gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed to ask the courts for a ruling on his eligibility to run. "Regrettably, we feel this is the only way to put this matter to rest quickly and without ambiguity," party chair Brandon Dillon says.— Gongwer News Service (@GongwerMichigan) February 1, 2018
As of late today, El-Sayed's campaign, confident in their candidate's eligibility to run, has decided to comply with the Michigan Democratic Party's request for a court ruling that states he is eligible to run for governor of the state of Michigan.
We’ll take whatever steps necessary to put these shameless political attacks to rest.
Only time will tell if El-Sayed will prevail to become the pride of his state, as the first Muslim-American governor in US history, but we know one Michigander who will be voting for him if she gets the chance—his deputy campaign manager:
.@AbdulElSayed supports Medicare for all, a $15 an hour minimum wage, marijuana legalization, and a ban on fracking. Some corporate Democrats don't like that, and they don't mind using dog whistle attacks to try and derail this grassroots movement. https://t.co/wRRQeVaX0L— Claire Sandberg (@clairesandberg) February 1, 2018