Wednesday August 15, 2018
Rep. Ilhan Omar celebrated with supporters after her primary victory. MARK VANCLEAVE – STAR TRIBUNE
Minneapolis (HOL) - Ilhan Omar (D), the nation’s first Somali-American legislator is one step closer to being the first Somali-American in Congress after winning the Democratic Party nomination for Minnesota’s safely blue 5th Congressional District.The one-term state legislator who enjoys strong support from America’s left-wing progressive groups - including an endorsement from the Democratic party’s rising star, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - defeated five other Democratic opponents, some with deeper resume’s, on a campaign against the ““politics of fear” that has often been used by the White House, particularly on immigration issues. During her campaign, Ilhan Omar has been on the receiving end of several of Islamophobic attacks from the far-right, including a recent ambush by Alt-right firebrand Laura Loomer at a joint campaign event with former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
The seat was held by Rep. Keith Ellison (D), who also won his Democratic primary for Minnesota attorney general, for 12 years and many project Omar to be the favourite to November’s election.
The Associated Press called the race for Ilhan Omar with 93 percent of precincts reporting. She won 48 percent of the vote.
“It is a district that is very much interested in making sure our progressive values are represented, and they know the only way they’ll continue to be represented is if we have people who are not going to just think about getting themselves to Washington but think about getting other progressives to Washington,” she said.
“Tonight we are
celebrating because we engaged and empowered our community and we won,”
Omar said in a statement released by her campaign.
Prior to Tuesday’s Primary, she was endorsed by the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party for her candidacy. She will go up against Republican nominee Jennifer Zielinski in November.
Omar is nearly guaranteed a seat in the House in November, and if all goes as planned, will be joined by Michigan’s Tlaib as the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Rashida Tiab won her primary last week after her opponent, Rep. John Conyers - who represented his Detroit district for 52 years -, was forced to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct.
If elected, Omar will also be the first Muslim to replace another Muslim in Congress when Keith Ellison vacates his seat a shot at Minnesota’s attorney general's office.
Omar, a 36-year-old Somali refugee who immigrated to the United States as a teenager, tweeted that her campaign proves that her constituents believe in her and her “ fight for an America that works for all of us.” She tweeted shortly after her election night that she shares this win with her staff, volunteers and voters.
"We started this campaign to prove people are ready and willing to fight for an America that works for all of us. To every staff member, volunteer, donor, and voter, this win is just as much yours as it is mine. Together, we will move our district, state and nation forward."