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Ilhan Omar Challenger Who Came Shockingly Close to Defeating Her Has a Message for the Progressive

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Minneapolis city councilman Don Samuels has a message for Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who barely defeated him in Tuesday’s primary election. 

“To come this close means that we have our finger on the pulse of the exhausted majority,” Samuels told a crowd of his supporters. “We know that America wants change.”


Omar defeated Samuels, 50.3 percent to 48.2 percent. 

Omar, who represents Minneapolis and is one of the left’s leading voices in Congress, has defended calls to redirect public safety funding more into community-based programs. She squared off with former City Councilmember Don Samuels, whose north Minneapolis base suffers from more violent crime than other parts of the city.

Samuels argued that Omar is divisive and helped defeat a ballot question last year that sought to replace the city police department with a new public safety unit. He and others also successfully sued the city to force it to meet minimum police staffing levels called for in Minneapolis’ charter.

Samuels said his narrow loss shows that Omar is beatable: “If this was the general election, no doubt that we would have won this race.” Omar countered, “Tonight’s victory is a testament to how much our district believes in the collective values we are fighting for.” (AP)


“My only hope is that my opponent will have learned a lesson from this,” Samuels said about the tighter-than-expected race. “You cannot give poor constituent service, put your own dreams above the dreams and visions and desires of your community, hold scant and scarce town-hall meetings, not be available to the press that serves your community, and get reelected easily.”

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