IIhan Omar on the brink of re-election after emphatic victory in Minnesota
Minneapolis, USA - Progressive Democrat Ilhan Omar, the incumbent representative for Minnesota 5th District, is on the brink of winning her second term after an emphatic victory against three of her opponents on Tuesday night, in one of the closely contested Democratic Party primaries in Minneapolis.
With Minnesota considered a Blue-state, IIhan's deserved victory is almost a guarantee for re-election later on in November when Americans elect new leaders. She was first elected in 2018, becoming the first Somali-American and a naturalized American from Africa to win a Congress seat.
But campaigns for the second term in her Democratic Party have been tough after she faced criticism over "leftist" politics, which at some point provoked President Donald Trump. In a tough-worded tweet, Trump had threatened to have her deported to her native Somalia and even labeled her a "rebel without course".
Antone Melton-Meaux, her main competitor, had raised millions of dollars for a campaign fueled in large part by dislike of Omar, one of the first Muslim women in Congress and a member of the so-called “Squad” of Democratic women of color.
In her first two years in Congress, Omar was accused of anti-Semitic comments and campaign finance irregularities and had also been the target of racist attacks from conservatives. This not only earned her support within America but also in Somalia where she was born, with senior politicians from the war-torn nation taking to social media to back her bid.
"Calling on Somalis in Minnesota’s 5th District to turn out in large numbers and vote for Ilhan," Abshir Ahmed, the Somali Senate Deputy Speaker said. "She hasn’t disappointed. Her record is exemplary and speaks for itself. She fights for minority rights, pushes for social reforms and human rights home and abroad."
With over 57 percent of cast votes, Omar acknowledged community support, adding that, "In Minnesota, we know that organized people will always beat organized money". Her victory, she said, "earned a mandate for change" despite "outside efforts to defeat us", adding that "we once again broke turnout records".
"This election isn’t about me. It’s about an agenda rooted in people’s everyday struggles—and the corporations and rightwing donors who are threatened by it," Ms. Omar said. "It’s about standing up for the basic human rights around the world—and fighting a military-industrial complex that opposes the recognition of people’s humanity and dignity."
Traditionally, Minnesota, which has a significant population of Somali-Americans, has often voted for Democratic Party in national elections. Omar's victory came shortly after her colleagues in the famous Squad; Alexandria Ocasio and Rashida Tlaib, won also their respective primaries.
Born in Somalia, Omar and her family sought refuge in Kenya in the early 90s before settling in the US. Her surprise victory in 2018 was widely celebrated and her consistency in Congress has won her many supporters and an almost equal number of critics in the US.
"It has been the honor of my life to represent you in Congress and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the 5th District in the years to come," Ms. Omar said in a tweet, shortly after her historic victory in primaries, which was a significant improvement from her 2018 record.
The presumptive Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden, who also served as Vice President during the regime of Barack Obama, picked California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. Ilhan, who had initially supported Barnie Sanders for White House race, has since pledged support to Biden after the former's team bolted out of the race.