World

Don’t hold your breath for an Ilhan Omar upset

11 August 2020

3:47 AM

11 August 2020

3:47 AM

Ilhan Omar haters have whipped themselves into a hopeful frenzy thinking the first Somali American woman to serve in Congress will be primaried by black lawyer Antone Melton-Meaux this week.

In many ways, Melton-Meaux is the perfect challenger. He is equally as progressive, having spent much of his campaign advocating for trans rights, but comes with none of the anti-Israel and BDS baggage that has plagued Rep. Omar during her time in Congress.


Melton-Meaux has earned the support of several pro-Israel groups, who justifiably despise Omar for trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes, and even managed to snag the endorsement of the Minnesota Star-Tribune, the influential left-leaning local paper. Cockburn also applauds Melton-Meaux for running a clean race — he has attacked Omar for missing a significant number of congressional votes and allegations of campaign finance violations related to her affair with a former employee, rather than allegations that she once married her brother to commit immigration fraud. Lord knows that’s right where Cockburn would go if he were in charge of the campaign.

Omar supporters are clearly spooked by the quick rise of her opponent. Labor unions that have endorsed her are going after Melton-Meaux for his legal work defending large companies against workers with discrimination claims. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, of which Omar is a member, subsequently filed a federal elections complaint against Melton-Meaux, presumably to get back at him for using Omar’s campaign finance troubles against her.

Despite all of the fanfare, it’s unlikely Omar is going anywhere. She is extremely well-known and well-liked in her district, even though she faces low favorability ratings outside of MN-5. A July poll from Change Research had Omar with a stunning 37-point lead over Melton-Meaux. That lead only widened when voters read the respective attacks on each candidate. Melton-Meaux also suffers from the fact that over a quarter of voters don’t even know who he is.

The Times of Israel has claimed Omar’s congressional seat is in ‘jeopardy’. Politico described the race as a ‘tough primary challenge’. A recent op-ed in the Hill argued it ‘would not be entirely surprising’ if Omar lost the race. These observers ought to hold their horses. As much as Cockburn would relish the drama behind a ‘Squad’ insurrection, an Omar loss is more rooted in wishful thinking than reality.

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