Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed campaigns with support from New York Democrat candidate for Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a rally on the campus of Wayne State University on July 28, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.
Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed campaigns with support from New York Democrat candidate for Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a rally on the campus of Wayne State University on July 28, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Abdul El-Sayed, a 33-year-old doctor who previously worked as Detroit’s health commissioner, has attracted a handful of Sen. Bernie Sanders 2016 alums to his campaign. In January, activist and supporter Linda Sarsour called him “our younger version of Bernie.”
Talking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo last month about the future of the Democratic party, El-Sayed pushed a harder line against big business interests.
“We’ve got to find our core,” he said. “At our core we’ve always been a party about people — how we empower people against big corporations and against the exploitation we’ve seen for a long time.”
Polls suggest El-Sayed faces an uphill fight ahead of today’s primary. Gretchen Whitmer, a former state Senate minority leader, is the favorite and millionaire Shri Thanedar has also sought to promote himself as a progressive alternative.
But El-Sayed has been methodically building his case and, along the way, grabbing the attention of progressive groups with pitches to make internet available to everyone in Michigan with his “MI-Fi” plan, a new clean water policy and his detailed “Medicare-for-all” proposal that, speaking to Bloomberg, Larry Levitt from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation called “a serious plan (that’s) upfront about the tax increase required, which is often just an asterisk in single payer proposals.”