Ilhan Omar Narrowly Survives Democratic Primary in Minnesota

Star Tribune via Getty
It was closer than she wanted, but progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) narrowly defeated centrist Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels in their first matchup Tuesday night, winning by a margin pointing to a much shakier position in her Minneapolis borough indicates than most expected.
Samuels has largely responded to Omar's left-wing positions, including her support for the police defunding, which has become a hot topic in Minneapolis since the 2020 killing of George Floyd. The congresswoman is one of the Democrats' most liberal members of the House Caucus, and she, along with the rest of the party's so-called progressive "squad," has occasionally defied key political votes.
Although he ultimately lost, Samuels' candidacy seems to have appealed to some voters' distaste for Omar's progressive approach. When the AP named her race, she was only about 2 percentage points ahead.
Ilhan Omar smashes Congressional "high school" cliques
In the run-up to the primaries, Omar seemed unimpressed. Not only did she have the benefit of tenure, but she was supported by a number of high-profile progressive figures, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Samuels benefited from some last-minute endorsements, including from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. But his challenge was ultimately unsuccessful - and he conceded the race to Omar at around 10:30pm. EDT Tuesday evening.
Omar isn't the first member of the squad to come through a tight main challenge this year. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) faced main centrist challengers, although they both prevailed by more comfortable margins.
Omar has faced major challenges in recent years - including lawyer Antone Melton-Meaux, whom she beat by a healthy margin. But Tuesday night's narrow call could be a hint that another Democratic challenger could defeat her in a different primary.
Luckily for Omar, her district is heavily democratic, meaning she probably has two years to resolve her eligibility issues as she stands little chance of losing re-election in November's general election.
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