Ilhan Omar files to run for U.S. congress

Omar and Keith Ellison were among several candidates to file for new positions in a flurry of activity Tuesday.

State Rep. Ilhan Omar talks with attendees before speaking at her campaign kickoff. 

Easton Green

State Rep. Ilhan Omar talks with attendees before speaking at her campaign kickoff. 

Helen Sabrowsky

Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, filed Tuesday to run for the seat held by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., in Minnesota’s fifth congressional district. Omar currently represents House District 60B which includes the University of Minnesota, Augsburg University, Prospect Park, Seward, Como and Cedar Riverside neighborhoods. She was elected in 2016. 

Ellison filed to run for Minnesota attorney general Tuesday after Minnesota’s current attorney general, Lori Swanson, announced her run for governor Monday. 

Ellison said it has been an honor to represent Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, but aims to expand his service to the entire state. 

“The reason I am running is because I believe the people of Minnesota need an attorney general who will fight with them every single day,” he said. “We say the pledge of allegiance and at the end we say ‘liberty and justice for all.’ There are no exceptions, and nobody’s cut out of that, not based on religion or race or where you live. It’s all means all.”

Several other candidates have filed to run for Ellison’s seat, including Omar, Sen. Bobby Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, and Republican Frank Drake.

Omar, who was the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature in 2016, has withdrawn her House District 60B candidacy in order to run for Ellison’s seat. 

“I am excited to be a voice for the voiceless at the capital and make sure that I am bringing the fierce fight that I brought here from my first day,” said Omar, announcing her candidacy.  “We have a lot at stake this year and we’re going to need somebody who is ready on day one to mobilize and make sure that the voices of our congressional district are heard.”

Mohamud Noor and Joshua Preston, a University of Minnesota law student, filed to run for Omar’s seat. Noor ran against Omar in the 2016 election for the 60B seat.

Madeline Deninger contributed reporting to this story.