MINNEAPOLIS – Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota fought off the well-funded preliminary challenger on Tuesday, ensuring a sweep of re-election wars for a first-term group of black female congressmen known as Squad and send a message to Washington about keeping the power of the party’s new progressive voices.
Ms. Omar, who made history in 2018 when she became the first Somali American to be elected to Congress, is also the first naturalized citizen born in Africa and the first woman of color. from Minnesota did this, having won after spending the first two years gaining attention in Washington.
Her unwavering grip on left-wing politics attracted her loyalists, both in Minnesota and across the country. However, she became a lightning rod for conservatives and faced criticism from some Democrats, especially after several episodes in 2019 in which she was accused of bringing out of anti-Semitic reviews.
In the deep green district, Ms. Omar’s main success on Tuesday almost guarantees that she will serve a second term in Congress. Late on Tuesday, she is ahead of her main rival, Antone Melton-Meaux, by more than 15 percentage points.
“In Minnesota, we know that the organized people will always beat the organized coins,” Ms. Omar wrote on Twitter. “Tonight, our movement is not just winning. We have received a mandate for change. Despite outside efforts to beat us, we once again broke the voter record. Despite the attacks, our support only increased ”.
Mr. Melton-Meaux has received extensive financial support from national groups in hopes of seeing the incumbent ousted. In the second quarter of 2020, Mr. Melton-Meaux raised six times more than Ms. Omar and an analysis from The MinnPost found that about 20% of his great value donations came to help. from pro-Israel political action committees. . Mr. Melton-Meaux also received the approval of The Star Tribune, the leading newspaper in the region.
Democrats, however, have been backing Ms. Omar’s help in recent weeks, prompting progress advocates such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and founding figures like Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The race is more than just a referendum in her first term, and is driven by two factors that reshaped every aspect of political life in 2020: the coronavirus pandemic and the rallies. National love for racial inequality and police brutality began in May after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. Unrest is particularly acute in Minneapolis, where fires and chaos raged for days. An area of the Police Department was burned down.
Ms. Omar and Mr. Melton-Meaux both stressed the need for social justice and an end to systemic racism. But Ms. Omar’s vision of progressive change went further, as she accepted calls to restructure the entire Police Department, diverting money to invest in social services.
The virus also forces most of the campaign to campaign inside and online. Some observers suggest it could further highlight Mr. Melton-Meaux’s financial advantage as he has flooded the waves for weeks.
Mr. Melton-Meaux sought to turn the election into a referendum on Ms. Omar’s national record, developing a similar but ineffective argument in Michigan, when Representative Rashida Tlaib retaliated. The challenger tried to see her as too progressive and nationally focused. for the district.
On Election Day, Ms. Omar appeared in public a number of times, a sign that her campaign was not working.
In the afternoon, she flirted with voters at a marketplace in Minneapolis, ordered Mexican food and dined with staff without showing signs of anxiety.
“Everything in this elementary school is in trouble, from the money to sending the xenophobic messages,” she said. “But this is Thursday. This is Minneapolis. This is the place not only to make a public statement about how happy they are to have immigrants in their area, but they have elected one to Congress. “
Then, at an evening campaigning event in Dinkytown, a neighborhood in Minneapolis where Mrs. Omar liked to spend election nights talking to voters, young supporters gathered as in a passing car shouting “Ilhan!” And we love you! “
Britt D’Arezzo, 22, says national awareness about Ms. Omar has no effect on retail politics and her visibility at home.
“They don’t know how active she is locally,” Ms. D’Arezzo said. “They don’t see her walking and just hang out in corners. They don’t see how she connects with us. ”
Omar’s victory was one of the progressive organizations’ last electoral priorities during the 2020 primary season, which began with a huge disappointment for them but then changed. As the top progressive candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, lost the party’s presidential nomination to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., some wrote leftist Democrats eliminate – diminish it as a gathering of social media activists and voices, not something of mass appeal.
In the months since then, a string of rebel victories in favorable voting races – and strong re-elections by the likes of Omar, Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib and Representative Alexandria Ocasio New York’s Cortez – points to a more complicated picture, and a party’s group is still going up.
In recent months, challengers supported by groups such as the Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement have won primaries in New York, Illinois and Missouri. Victory in St. Louis was particularly remarkable, the first time a Black challenger was able to oust a member of the Black Parliament Secretariat, a key block in the leadership of the House of Representatives. represents many blue Democrats.
Altogether, the victories of challengers and major victories of incumbents paved the way forward for left-wing political movements. If you can take office and stay there, people like Omar argues, you can prove to your voters that your proposed reforms are not radical.
The Justice Democrats also released a statement about Omar’s success on Tuesday. In recent weeks, Democrats across the country have lined up to support the incumbent, forming a rare alliance between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and groups seeking to motivate her.