Politics

Democrats Seek to Unseat ‘Electorally Vulnerable’ Ilhan Omar

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


Controversial Democratic incumbent Ilhan Omar of Minnesota’s 5th congressional district is up for re-election this year, but she will have her work cut out for her in the primary against not one but three formidable opponents.

Following a narrow loss in the 2022 primary, former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels announced that he would challenge progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in the upcoming primary.

Moderate Democrat Samuels declared his intention to run for Omar’s congressional seat. Omar narrowly defeated the former city council member by two points in 2022. Samuels claimed on Sunday that Omar is “beatable” after his close loss.

“Ilhan hasn’t helped herself,” Samuels said. “She has made missteps, even after the last race. And so some folks are coming [to support me] because of what I am, who I am, and what I will do, and some are coming because of what she does and will do.”

Furthermore, he made it clear that he is entering the race earlier than before, which will allow him more time to cultivate connections with supporters and voters. Samuels further attacked Omar for being a polarizing figure, citing her attack on Obama for calling police budget cuts a “snappy slogan.”

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“My opponent is known for divisiveness and rancor personally, locally, nationally, and internationally,” he said.

Additionally, a pro-Israel Muslim immigrant from Iraq and longtime broadcast journalist in Minnesota has announced she will run against Omar next year after labeling her the most antisemitic member of Congress.

Dalia al-Aqidi, a Republican who immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq to escape then-dictator Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime and Omar have “staunchly opposing viewpoints on the Israel-Hamas conflict,” the report stated.

“This is the first time two Muslim Americans are running against each other for a congressional seat, and it’s in a district with a significant Muslim population. But Al-Aqidi, a native of Iraq who fled Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime in 1988, says that distinction shouldn’t matter. She’d rather focus on the issues: She’s a pro-school choice, wants to eliminate Critical Race Theory from being taught in classrooms (even though it is mainly taught just at the university level), reduce inflation, and secure our borders,” the outlet added.

Above all, however, she is staunchly pro-Israel and rejects allegations of ‘Islamophobia’ because she won’t play the “identity politics game.”

“My religion should not matter to anyone but myself,” al-Aqidi told Politico’s Women Rule column. “If I was a white woman, if I was a black woman, if I was a white man, saying what I’m saying now? I’d be called a white supremacist, a hater, a racist, a bigot.”

The GOP contender launched her campaign about a month ago because she strongly believes that the people in her Minneapolis district should not be represented by Omar, who she has accused of being Congress’ biggest anti-Semite after voting against a resolution to support Israel after it was attacked by the Palestinian-backed Hamas.

In a statement last week issued by her office, Omar said while she “mourns the lives taken by Hamas,” she declined to support the resolution because it failed to “acknowledge and mourn the lives of Palestinians taken by the Israeli military.”

“While I was here, Ilhan Omar voted against the U.S. House resolution that condemned Hamas. And that tells you a lot about who Ilhan Omar is,” Al-Aqidi told Politico while she was touring Israel late last month. “I come here as a Muslim, as someone who understands what it means to be a radical Muslim. Unfortunately, the majority of people in the United States cannot comprehend the difference between being a Muslim or being an extremist.”

“And, of course, that came from the narrative of [Rep.] Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar, that if you criticize radical Islamism, it means you criticize Muslims. For years, they’ve been trying to indoctrinate the Muslim community and the Middle Eastern community in the United States,” she said.

“I’m Muslim, and I was here when 9/11 happened. I was not muted just because I was a Muslim. I was not mistreated because of my identity or because of my religion. I love America. I came to America because I fled the hostility and oppression in the Middle East. I don’t want to come here and be oppressed by so-called Muslims,” Al-Aqidi added.

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