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Republican Askar suspends race against Ilhan Omar

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Abdimalik Askar was the GOP candidate in 60B
Abdimalik Askar is the GOP nominee on the ballot against DFL candidate Ilhan Omar in District 60B.
Courtesy Abdimalik Askar

The Republican nominee for a state House district in Minneapolis says he's suspending his campaign to deal with family issues.

Abdimalik Askar is the GOP nominee on the ballot against DFL candidate Ilhan Omar in District 60B. It was believed to be the first state office race in the country with two major party candidates who are both Somali-American.

Askar said he has had a difficult year. His father recently died, his wife is pregnant, and he's trying to finish his doctorate at St. Mary's University of Minnesota.

"And I'm working two jobs," he said. "So two jobs and all those responsibilities, I said that I cannot do campaign door-knocking."

David Pascoe, Askar's campaign chairman, said it was "theoretically possible for us to replace him on the ballot. But as you can imagine, in House District 60B, the Republican bench isn't very deep."

"We kind of consciously suspended the campaign, but are not withdrawing," Pascoe said. "There's no reason really for him to take his name off the ballot."

Pascoe said that could change if another candidate steps forward.

District 60B, which comprises parts of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, southeast Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, is represented by DFLer Phyllis Kahn. Omar defeated Kahn in a primary contest as Kahn was seeking her 22nd term in the Minnesota House.