Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar easily wins against well-funded challenger

Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American member of the US Congress, survived a stiff Democratic primary challenge from a well-funded opponent, who tried to make an issue of her national celebrity, the latest in a string of victories by a new generation of progressive legislators.

Omar, seeking her second term in November, easily defeated Antone Melton-Meaux, a lawyer and mediator who raised millions in anti-Omar money, and a third candidate.

She expanded her base by winning 57 percent of the vote against her two challengers during the election cycle, compared with her 48 percent victory in the 2018 primary.

“In Minnesota, we know that organised people will always beat organised money,” she wrote on social media following her win. “Despite the attacks, our support has only grown.”

Omar’s district is predominantly Democratic, and she is expected to win in November.

One of the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress in 2018, Omar, 37, is well-known as a member of the “Squad” of four freshman liberal congresswomen.

Omar and her allies gained confidence in her re-election chances after primary victories last week by fellow progressive members of Congress Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and by Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter activist who removed a longtime St Louis-area congressman.

‘Our squad is big’

After news reports projected Omar as the winner of the race, Tlaib congratulated her saying, “Our squad is big!” Omar and Tlaib became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018.

Omar’s opponent Melton-Meaux used the cash to paper the district and flood airwaves with his “Focused on the Fifth” message that portrayed Omar as out of touch with the heavily Democratic Minneapolis-area 5th District, which has not elected a Republican to Congress since 1960.

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