By the numbers: How Ilhan Omar won

A woman speaks into a microphone outside.
Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks with reporters at Mercado Central during a primary day stop Tuesday in Minneapolis. Omar got more votes in this year’s primary in nearly every part of the 5th District than she did in her 2018 primary win.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News file

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar improved on her 2018 primary performance in almost all parts of the 5th District in her commanding renomination win this week. 

Omar had about 57.4 percent of the vote as of Wednesday afternoon, ahead of 39.2 percent for rival Antone Melton-Meaux, who conceded Tuesday night. Some late-arriving absentee ballots still remain to be counted before final results come out Friday. 

That’s an improvement over Omar’s first win in 2018, when she topped her closest rival, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, 48.2 percent to 30.4 percent.

An MPR News analysis of the results shows Omar did better almost everywhere in the 5th District, which covers Minneapolis and its western and northern suburbs. Out of 234 precincts with results in both elections, Omar did better in 214 and worse in 20, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Change in Rep. Ilhan Omar vote share, 2018 vs. 2020

Omar did particularly better in the predominantly nonwhite Phillips and Near North neighborhoods, where in 2018 she often trailed the fourth- and fifth-place candidates, Jamal Abdi Abdulahi and Bobby Joe Champion. Omar, Abdulahi and Champion are all Black. Omar’s vote share grew by more than 20 percent in many parts of these neighborhoods.

The exception to Omar’s general improvement was her performance in some of the district’s most affluent neighborhoods, in Edina and the Southwest and Calhoun Isle neighborhoods of Minneapolis. These were areas where Omar struggled against Anderson Kelliher in 2018, and she did even worse there against Melton-Meaux this year.

But Omar managed to improve her standing in other suburban parts of the district where she trailed last election. She still fell short of 50 percent of the vote this year in many parts of Golden Valley, New Hope and Fridley, but saw her share of the vote increase there by 10 to 20 percentage points over 2018.

Overall, in fact, Omar did about 10 percentage points better across the board, in precincts where she won big in 2018, lost big, or was closer to 50 percent.

Rep. Ilhan Omar improved in both strong and weak areas.

Below is a map of Omar’s overall performance by precinct, through Wednesday afternoon: 

Rep. Ilhan Omar vote share in 2020 DFL primary

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