Pro-police Democrat nearly wipes out Ilhan Omar in Minnesota primary

Pro-police Democrat nearly wipes out Ilhan Omar in Minnesota primary

A member of the progressive “Squad” in the U.S. House nearly lost her seat Tuesday to a pro-police Democrat in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, who was first elected in 2018 and has become nationally recognized as one of most left-wing Democratic lawmakers, won her primary election Tuesday against moderate Democrat Don Samuels, but only by a few points.

Mr. Samuels conceded to Ms. Omar late Tuesday, when Ms. Omar was ahead by just 2.5 percentage points, with 86% of the vote counted.

The results were far closer than analysts had predicted and come after Mr. Samuels won the endorsement of the Star Tribune newspaper and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

Mr. Samuels far outperformed polling that showed Ms. Omar ahead by 40 points in June.

Ms. Omar won Tuesday’s Democratic primary by about 3,000 votes. In 2020, she won the primary by 35,000, according to KMSP-TV, the Fox affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

In an interview with the Times of Israel, Mr. Samuels pointed to Ms. Omar’s support of defunding the police even as the district’s crime rate has soared.

“She was out of touch with the community she was claiming to protect, and she was out of touch with the voters in general,” Mr. Samuels said. “It’s reflective of a problem that she has, which caused me to run because she has alienated several groups.”

Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District encompasses the entire city of Minneapolis and some surrounding cities.

The district is heavily Democratic and it is uncertain whether Ms. Omar’s narrow scrape in the Democratic primary signals general vulnerability, or a race-defining weakness on the crime issue, when running against a Republican in November.

Ms. Omar will face Republican Cicely Davis on the November ballot.

Ms. Davis received 48.1% of the vote in Tuesday’s GOP primary, beating Royce White and Guy Gaskin, who garnered 37% and 14.9%, respectively.

Ms. Davis, who is Black, said she is running for Congress, “to stand up to Marxism, end the weaponization of race by politicians, and restore prosperity to Minneapolis.”

Crime has risen on the list of concerns for 2022 voters, showing up among the top five issues for voters in many surveys.