Ilhan Omar beats well-funded challenger in Minnesota primary

On Tuesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar defeated challenger Antone Melton-Meaux in her primary. She’s now expected to sail to an easy victory this November in Minnesota’s heavily-Democratic 5th district.

Omar becomes the third member of The Squad to beat back a primary challenge and, since Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley is running unopposed next month, all four members are expected to return to the House. Omar’s was the closest of the races, but she still prevailed over Melton-Meaux by 18.2 points.

The Squad is expected to expand in 2021 as they will be joined by New York’s Jamaal Bowman and Missouri’s Cori Bush, two progressives who recently defeated longtime Democratic incumbents. Bowman has expressed his support for conditioning aid to Israel and Bush has defended the BDS movement against accusations of antisemitism.

Melton-Meaux raked in millions of dollars attempting to oust Omar, with many campaign contributions coming from pro-Israel groups.  Americans For Tomorrow’s Future (a PAC with connections to the GOP and AIPAC) spent over $2 million attacking the congresswoman. Omar’s been a target of pro-Israel groups since she entered congress, as a result of her progressive foreign policy positions and defense of the BDS movement. She’s also been the victim of consistent racist and Islamophobic attacks from the right-wing.

In 2019, Republicans and some members of her own party, attacked the congresswoman for alleged antisemitism after she posted a series of tweets drawing attention to the political influence of the Israel Lobby. “As Omar’s critics once again cry ‘antisemitism,’ her supporters see the lobby’s latest donations as vindication and more clear evidence that it uses its financial might to influence the American political process. The revelations cast further doubt on the sincerity of the criticisms leveled against Omar, which many say are thinly veiled Islamophobic attacks,” wrote Tom Perkins at Mondoweiss last month.

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