Congresswoman Ilhan Omar Faces Fierce Competition Ahead of Reelection Bid

by Xara Aziz

It was a close call for Congresswoman Ilhan Omar when she narrowly won last August’s primary to Don Samuels. Now she is up for a new challenge after the former Minneapolis City Council member announced he is running for the congressional seat again.

The news comes on the heels of the Minnesota representative announcing that she, too, was running again – this time during an escalatory war happening between Israel and Hamas.

Omar currently represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, a swath of area encompassing all of Minneapolis and its neighboring suburbs. The district, rated as a “plus 30” for Democrats, holds 30 percent more Democrats than the average congressional district. This means whoever is the Democratic primary winner this August will more than likely decide the winner of the district.

Last year, Jamaican-born Samuels was inches away from defeating Somalian-born Omar with just a margin of 2,500 votes. Now that they are facing each other again, the contention has already begun. Omar recently clapped back at Samuel, accusing him of sexism after he was quoted as saying she was not “cute enough.” Samuels has since backtracked on the remark stating that it was taken out of context.

Omar’s path to victory will be a challenging one, critics argue, specifically as it relates to past anti-Semitic remarks she made, which she has since apologized for. And in 2019, Israeli officials revoked her invitation to the country.

She has also faced backlash for supporting President Biden’s reelection bid, inciting some Islamic groups to believe she is in support of a president who supports Israel.

“I recently had a conversation with the president. Muslims were very pivotal to his election, they mobilized in all the key states. Young people were very instrumental in him getting elected,” Omar said in a recent interview on WCCO. “And what I reminded him was that he needs to listen to these voices. People are heartbroken. It’s been really hard to have conversations about politics and policy. People just want the images of young children’s bodies that are piling up to end and they want our support for this to end.”

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