Former Minneapolis City Councilman Challenging Ilhan Omar In Primary

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a prominent member of the left wing of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives, received a primary challenger last week. Former Minneapolis City Councilmember Don Samuels (D) announced that he would challenge Omar for a second time for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

“Our congresswoman has a predilection to divisiveness and conflict,” Samuels said.

Omar’s position came under fire after her demand for the defunding of the police in the 2020 and 2022 campaigns. Minneapolis was the site of the first stages of the 2020 George Floyd riots.

Samuels had opposed to the plan to “defund” the Minneapolis Police Department. Samuels and allies were able to defeat the plan to replace the police department with a different public safety organization.

The challenger said that the “long tails of the George Floyd and COVID issues continue, with empty storefronts and empty strip malls because people don’t want to invest anymore. They don’t think it’s safe.”

Omar responded to the challenge through a statement, stating that “right-wing donors” had targeted her since taking office. She claimed that her Democratic opponent had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors she deemed as far-right.

The Minnesota Democrat was nearly defeated by Samuels in the 2022 primary. The former city councilmember came within 2,500 votes of ousting her. During the August 2022 primary, Omar received almost 58,000 votes while Samuels received more than 55,000. Other candidates received about 1,500 votes.

Samuels’ 48.2% share of the primary vote made national headlines, signaling that the socialist member of the House caucus may face an uphill battle in a rematch.

Omar went on to win 74% of the vote over her Republican opponent.

She has also received considerable criticism since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas due to a number of public statements.

The member of the left-wing “Squad” said that Israel’s actions in Gaza represented “collective punishment, a war crime, and the U.S. should oppose any violations of international law if we truly support a rules-based international order.”

She said that the United States should cut off “unconditional weapons sales and military aid to Israel” and instead “at long last use its diplomatic might to push for peace.”