Rep. Ilhan Omar Launches Reelection Bid With Big Advantages

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FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, file photo, Congressional Progressive Caucus member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and others in the Caucus, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, about the targeted killing of Iran's senior military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Omar is kicking off her reelection campaign Thursday Jan 23, 2020, with a massive bank account and no challengers who pose a serious threat from either party. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rep. Ilhan Omar’s congressional career got off to a rocky start just a year ago, with her provocative remarks on Israel and Jews stirring anger across the country and raising speculation that some other Minnesota Democrat might step forward to challenge her in 2020.

That was then.

Omar was kicking off her reelection campaign Thursday night with a massive bank account and no challengers who pose a serious threat from either party. Her campaign slogan — “Send her back to Congress!” — gleefully evokes President Donald Trump’s personal attacks on her.

In an overwhelmingly Democratic district that where Omar took 78% of the vote in 2018, University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs gives her opponents no chance.

“This is one of the most progressive-liberal districts in the country and Rep. Omar is one of the most progressive-liberal members of Congress,” Jacobs said. “She’s a fit for the district even if Democrats around the country are uncomfortable with her positions and her style.”

Omar, a Somali American immigrant, became a national figure in 2018 as one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. But her tweets last February insinuating that lawmakers support Israel because they have been bought off came under intense bipartisan criticism. She added fuel to the fire last March by suggesting that Jewish Americans have divided loyalties between the U.S. and Israel.

Trump moved quickly to try to make Omar and three other freshmen congresswomen of color — known as “The Squad” — the face of his opposition, saying they should “go back” to their counties, even though only Omar was foreign born. His supporters chanted, “Send her back!” at a rally a few days later in North Carolina. But Omar received a hero’s welcome at the airport when she returned home from Washington that week.

Trump’s attention to Omar has helped her raise enormous amounts of money, and she’s used the national stage effectively, Jacobs said.

Omar raised more than $2.5 million through last year’s third quarter, the latest figures available, and had $1.56 million in the bank. Her fundraising was more than triple the House incumbent average, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Omar did not immediately respond to a request for an interview ahead of her kickoff.

Omar’s only real primary threat would have to come from a Democratic officeholder, but none has stepped forward, said Kathryn Pearson, another University of Minnesota political scientist.

One of her three little-known Democratic challengers, mediator Antone Melton-Meaux, did raise more than $200,000 in the fourth quarter, with more than $180,000 in the bank. His strong support for Israel and opposition to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement contrast with Omar’s positions.

“I don’t think he poses a serious threat, but the fact that he raised a chunk of money fairly quickly, it shows that while Rep. Omar is pretty safe, it doesn’t mean there aren’t some Democrats who are unhappy with her performance in Congress so far,” Pearson said.

Taking advantage of conservative dislike of Omar nationally, her likely GOP opponent, black businessman Lacy Johnson, raised nearly $478,000 by the end of the third quarter but had spent most of that.

Divisions still remain between Omar and some Jewish community leaders, though they’re not expected to make a big dent in her margin of victory.

“The injury and ill-confidence … have not been adequately addressed,” said Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, who lives in her district. “The community will pay close attention to her in the 2020 election cycle.”

While Omar’s job seems secure for now, her long-range future is less clear.

“This is the beginning of what I think will be a series of nationally prominent and contested races against Rep. Omar,” Jacobs said. “I think at some point it’s going to beat her down.”

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14 COMMENTS

    • Yes, we can always find bootlickers like you to say that the actual anti-Semite isn’t so bad, and that it’s the other side’s “provocation” that causes all the trouble. You would have also been saying that “as bad as Haman is, it’s all Mordechai’s fault,” and “as bad as Antiochus is, it’s all the fault of those rebellious Chashmonaim,” and on and on throughout history. Your anti-Trumpism – expressed in the way you have to childishly misspell his name – is apparently your new religion, as your forebears the Yevsektzia’s was Communism.

      • He is also a spamming liar and uses multiple screen names like yingel and others.

        He thinks NYC and its suburban sanctuary cities are safe. Its only bad when white hicks yell jews will not replace us but if its people of color who yell that, then they are just poor suffering people whom we need to address their issues. Double talk

  1. Her biggest advantage is the fact that the Democrat party is becoming increasingly anti Israel and more supportive of anti Israel Jew haters like her

  2. goldnmedina, PRETTY? are you insane? shes doing us a favor covering her kinky hair too bad she doesn’t wear a niqab. She is well funded by SOROS just like Tlaib and AOC. All the “resistance” gets funding from Soros both in the US and Israel where it was PROVEN that breaking the silence and other left groups get checks from Soros. Cant wait for the SOROS funded trolls here to attack me, our dear president may he be well and support anti Semites like this Bantu.

    • You right wing wackos imagine that Soros is funding everyone and everything that isn’t in agreement with you. Do you have any evidence that e has funded those 3 women that terrify you?
      I don’t believe that Congresswoman Omar is from the Bantus. Have you research her ancestry?
      Have you seen her hair? She may shave her head like chassidish women do.
      She has a very appealing face which bigots can’t appreciate.
      Facts matter (unless you are Donald Trump)

  3. Appealing face? Seriously what you smoking yingele aka goldnmedina?

    Its fair to argue that we don’t chose politicians based on looks. But hey its ew.

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