Ilhan Omar wins 5th Congressional District DFL primary

Ilhan Omar will be on the ballot for the Nov. 3 General Election, where only Democrats have won since 1963.

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Congresswoman Ilhan Omar hugs an attendee as their photo is being taken at Ilhan Omar 2020 Reelection Kickoff: “Send Her Back to Congress” at Aria on Thursday, Jan. 23. (Nur B. Adam / Minnesota Daily)

Madeline Deninger

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar won the DFL primary Tuesday after a highly-contested campaign. 

Omar won with 57% of the vote with about 98% of precincts reporting, putting her on the ballot ahead of the November election in a DFL-dominated 5th Congressional District. Omar’s most high-profile challenger was Antone Melton-Meaux, a Minneapolis mediation lawyer, who dropped out of the race as Omar gained a significant lead in the polls. 

Melton-Meaux congratulated the congresswoman on MPR News after leaving the race. 

“This election isn’t about me. It’s about an agenda rooted in people’s everyday struggles—and the corporations and rightwing donors who are threatened by it,” said Omar in a statement. 

“In the coming months, President Trump and his allies will do everything they can to use fear and division to turn Minnesotan against Minnesotan. But here in Minnesota we are stronger than hate, we are greater than fear. And we are going to organize to have record turnout in order to defeat Donald Trump and keep Minnesota blue in November.”

Before she was elected to Congress in 2018, Omar represented state House district 60B in the Minnesota Legislature, which includes the University of Minnesota area. In her first term as a federal lawmaker, Omar has voiced support for policies including Medicare for All and canceling student debt. 

Following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Omar pushed for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The bill would ban chokeholds for departments across the county and increase reporting requirements for use-of-force incidents, among other provisions. 

During the primary campaign cycle, Melton-Meaux criticized Omar for what he called a lack of accessibility to the district. He promised more town halls and engagement with residents, noting he didn’t plan to move to Washington D.C. if elected. Omar also faced backlash for contracting her husband’s political firm for campaigning efforts, as reported by the Star Tribune and other outlets.

But Melton-Meaux also came under fire for campaign spending. The DFL party filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against his campaign a week before the primary, claiming he attempted to conceal the recipients of campaign money. 

Melton Meaux earned about 39% of the vote. 

Omar will be on the ballot for the Nov. 3 General Election. Lacy Johnson is likeliest to be the Republican candidate on the ballot.