March 16, 2021

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, Jetpac, a representative-driven organization that trains American Muslims who want to run for office, and MPower Change, the largest Muslim-led social and racial justice organization in the United States, today released a comprehensive report of all Muslim-identifying candidates who ran for public office in 2020.

SNAPSHOT: 181 candidates were on 2020 ballots across 28 states and Washington D.C., which is the highest number since the three organizations started mapping the electoral progress of politicians who identify as Muslim.

SEE: American Muslims Breaking Barriers | Running for Office in 2020

“A record number of American Muslims running for office is a testament to how a healthy democracy thrives when it is truly representative of the people. The success behind all of these campaigns required a diverse coalition of groups and grassroots efforts to get out the vote,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “American Muslims are civically engaged now more than ever and are fighting for justice on behalf of Americans at all levels of government. We should be proud of this historic moment.”

“More and more American Muslims are answering the call for public service because we recognize that our democracy is stronger when our policymakers represent a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences,” said Mohammed Missouri, Executive Director of Jetpac. “American Muslim representation is a crucial part of defeating the rise of violent Islamophobia in our society, and I’m very glad that our community continues to build civic power across all levels of government.”

“Muslim communities are taking control of their political destiny. Our people care about immigration policies that will reunite families and equitable policies like living wages for all” said Executive Director of MPower Change Linda Sarsour. “If we don’t see elected officials representing our values, Muslims will continue running for office to build power and achieve that change.”

Eighty Muslim candidates were successfully elected to office. In comparison, 49 Muslim candidates were elected to public office in 2019, and 57 in 2018 (the previous high mark in our record).

Below is a summary of Muslim electoral results from the 2020 election cycle.  

  • 44% of American-Muslims who ran a campaign in 2020 won their election.
  • A total of 23 Muslims ran for Congress in 14 states. 5 made it to the general election with 3 winning reelection. Incumbents Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Andre Carson were all re-elected by their constituents to serve their districts. First-time candidate, Mike Siegel, lost a close race to represent the 10th Congressional District in Texas.
  • 18 Muslims won municipal seats.
  • 47 Muslims ran for state legislatures in 22 states with 23 winning. At least 6 made history as the first-ever elected to a state office in their state.
  • CAIR, Jetpac, and MPower Change identified 16 notable American-Muslim hires and appointees to the Biden-Harris administration.
  • 19 ran for county positions in 8 states with 8 winning.
  • 6 ran for judicial seats with 4 winning.
  • Although American Muslims are running across the country, some states stood out: 33 ran in New Jersey; 27 ran in Minnesota; 23 in California; 20 in Michigan; and 9 in Massachusetts.