The Phoenix Flyer

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar wins DFL primary in close race in Minnesota

By: - August 10, 2022 10:55 am

U.S. Rep. lhan Omar. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 23: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a panel discussion during the Muslim Collective For Equitable Democracy Conference and Presidential Forum at the The National Housing Center July 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. As a member of a group of four freshman Democratic women of color, known informally as ‘The Squad,’ Omar has been targeted by President Donald Trump with controversial Tweets during the last week. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. Courtesy of the Minnesota Reformer.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar barely prevailed in her primary election Tuesday for the DFL candidacy in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District against former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels.

Omar’s primary this year was far closer than her 2020 primary, where she beat a well-funded challenger by a wide margin. Nearly half the voters opted for a candidate who lacked Omar’s political celebrity and campaigned on support for public safety amid the increase in crime suffered by Minneapolis since 2020.

Samuels conceded the election on Tuesday night.

Omar was seen attending last-minute campaign events minutes before and after the polls closed Tuesday. She’s in her second term in a district representing Minneapolis and its inner-ring suburbs.

Omar rocketed to prominence by becoming the first Somali-American elected to the state Legislature, more than two decades after people began arriving here from the east African nation. Just two years later, she was elected to Congress and joined “The Squad,” a group of young, progressive women of color who often used savvy media tactics to shape the Democratic agenda. They also faced brutal, frequently racist attacks, including from then President Donald Trump.

Earlier in her Washington tenure, Omar was also prone to create her own controversies. She was forced to apologize to the Jewish community after she seemed to suggest that Israeli allies in American politics were motivated by money.

DFL references the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party.

This story was published earlier by the Minnesota Reformer, an affiliate of the nonprofit States Newsroom, which includes the Florida Phoenix.

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Michelle Griffith
Michelle Griffith

Michelle Griffith covers Minnesota politics and policy for the Reformer, with a focus on marginalized communities. Most recently she was a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in North Dakota where she covered state and local government and Indigenous issues. For two years she was also a corps member with Report for America, a national nonprofit that places journalists in local newsrooms and news deserts. She lives in St. Paul and likes to knit and watch documentaries in her free time.