First-term state Rep. Ilhan Omar has won the DFL endorsement to run in the Aug. 14 primary for the 5th District congressional seat being vacated by Keith Ellison.
It's the first time the seat, long safe for Democrats, has been open since 2006, when Martin Sabo retired. The election opened up after intrigue at the party's state convention wound up with Attorney General Lori Swanson deciding to run for governor — and Ellison opting to return from Washington to run for her office.
Omar faced off Sunday against State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and DFL newcomer Frank Drake at an afternoon convention at Clara Barton Open School in south Minneapolis. Drake was knocked out on the first ballot, and Omar won with 68 percent of the votes on the second ballot, even after Torres Ray took to the podium and released her delegates.
Omar said she thinks she'll be the candidate going on to the general election in November.
"I wouldn't run if I didn't think I could," Omar said in an interview. "I believe I am the best candidate to send to Washington to collectively fight for us and bring about the issues that we care about. We are ready to put boots on the ground, to have the conversations that are necessary to have people believe in this journey to Washington."
Both Torres Ray and Drake told about 200 delegates gathered for the convention that they would continue campaigning to win the party nod in August. Two other DFL candidates, former DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Jamal Abdi Abdulahi, skipped the convention, but said they'd also be campaigning to win the primary this summer.