Politics and Government

Rep. Ilhan Omar wins DFL endorsement on first round of balloting

woman at lecturn
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar speaks at the DFL's 5th Congressional District convention at South High School in Minneapolis on Saturday.
Clay Masters | MPR News

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar won the endorsement of the state DFL party in her re-election bid for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district in a first round of balloting. The backing unlocks resources from the state party ahead of the August primary race.

Rep. Omar won the endorsement over former Minneapolis city council member Don Samuels, whom she defeated by just two percentage points in 2022. During a question-and-answer portion of the convention, Omar was asked about the war in Gaza which she referred to as a “genocide.”

“There is no way for us as citizens of this country to continue to allow our tax dollars to pay for the bombs that are destroying a civilian population,” Omar said to cheers from the audience.

Republican Congressman Don Bacon of Nebraska introduced a resolution to censure Omar for referring to some Jewish university students as pro-genocide. Samuels says he plans to stay in the race in this strongly Democratic district.

While Samuels argues Rep. Omar’s rhetoric is too divisive for the district, he calls the censure motion from Rep. Bacon simply politics. In response to the same question, Samuels called the war a “fraught and very complex situation.”

“Having a district where there are so many Jews and so many Muslims, instead of becoming a convener for conversations, where the risks are much lower and the tension lower than in the Middle East itself, she has picked a side,” Samuels told MPR News.

Both Samuels and Rep. Omar gave speeches with supporters on-stage at South High School in Minneapolis.

Samuels received 85 votes and Rep. Omar picked up 133 votes. Samuels vows to stay in the race, which will be a closely watched Democratic primary race across the country.

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