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Rep. Ilhan Omar raises $830K for re-election campaign

The freshman Democrat's first-quarter fundraising outpaced many fellow members of Minnesota's congressional delegation.


By Torey Van Oot
Tuesday April 16, 2019

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar raised more than $830,000 for her re-election bid in the first three months of 2019, according to a campaign finance report filed Monday.

Omar, a first-term congresswoman from Minneapolis, has spent much of her first months in office at the center of a national media firestorm. She faced weeks of intense criticism, including from Democratic leaders, over commments related to Israel and American Jews, and more recently, political attacks from conservatives over her description of the the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The first quarter fundraising haul represent a bright spot for Omar and her supporters, who say she has been unfairly targeted because she is a Muslim woman and refugee from Somalia. Omar ended the first quarter with more than $600,000 in her campaign account to run in a safe Democratic district that elected her by a wide margin in 2018.

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The figures put Omar far ahead of most of her colleagues in Minnesota congressional delegation, including several representing swing districts who are expected to face tough challenges in 2020. Only U.S. Sen. Tina Smith outpaced her, raising more than $1 million and ending the quarter with that same amount of cash in the bank. Smith, who won election to fill out the remainder of former U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s term last year, will be on the ballot for a full, six-year term in 2020. Several well-known Republicans, including former Rep. Jason Lewis, state Sen. Karin Housley and attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow, are weighing a run for the seat.

Quarterly reports for presidential candidates were also due on Monday. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar raised about $5.2 million during the first seven weeks of her campaign, lagging better-known rivals in the crowded Democratic field. While some of those donations were earmarked for the general election under campaign finance law, Klobuchar also transferred $3 million from her U.S. Senate account. She ended the first quarter with about $7 million to spend on her campaign.

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