Ilhan Omar was supposed to be the fresh new face of the Democrats. Instead, she’s quickly frustrating her own party — and now liberal constituents may be planning to oust her at the very next opportunity.
Omar, a Somali-born immigrant who came to the United States in 1995, made headlines when she became one of only two Muslims elected to U.S. Congress. But what could have been a success story has changed into a bit of an embarrassment for the Democratic Party.
The Minnesota representative angered Jewish Americans, traditionally a solid Democrat voting block, by making a series of tone-deaf comments that were viewed by many as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. The House was forced to pass a resolution speaking out generally against bigoted language, but many leaders on both sides of the political aisle expressed frustration that Omar hadn’t seemed to learn her lesson.
But that lesson could possibly cost the representative her job. A report from The Hill suggests that Democrats in Minnesota are searching for an alternative candidate to take on Omar in a primary challenge next November.
“Some Minnesota Democrats, aghast at controversial comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D), are taking initial steps to recruit a candidate to run against her in next year’s primary election, seeking to buck history in one of the nation’s most progressive legislative districts,” that outlet stated.
“Several party leaders said they have had discussions about finding a candidate to take on Omar, just two months into her first term in Congress,” that outlet continued.
The 2020 election is still a ways off, but as we’re seeing with presidential candidates making announcements, parties are already gearing up for what will most certainly be a contentious political season.
But while the presidential race on the Democrat side is getting crowded, liberals who are fed up with Omar aren’t finding nearly as many contenders to take on the Somali-American.
“There’s definitely some buzz going around about it, but it’s more a buzz of is anyone talking about finding someone to run against her than it is anyone saying they’re going to run against her or contemplate it,” explained state Sen. Ron Latz, a local Democrat who shares constituents with Omar.
Though the liberal party is still searching for candidates, Latz reiterated that there are clearly rumblings about replacing the congresswoman after only a few months in office. “There’s definitely talk about people wanting someone to run against her,” he said.
After Omar’s comments upset many in the Jewish community, she promised to better understand the friction and watch her words. Some Jewish leaders in Minnesota, however, aren’t convinced.
“Our community is exasperated by Rep. Omar’s unfulfilled promises to listen and learn from Jewish constituents while seemingly simultaneously finding another opportunity to make an anti-Semitic remark and insult our community,” said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.
While Hunegs was one of several community leaders who met with Omar, he was left less than thrilled about the congresswoman who represents him and many other Jewish people in Minnesota.
“Unfortunately, having the opportunity to speak with her about that point didn’t dissuade her making that statement,” he told The Hill. “We were appalled.”
State Sen. Latz, the Democratic politician who shares many constituents with Omar, echoed similar sentiments about distrust in the controversial congresswoman.
“I’d be pretty uncomfortable supporting Rep. Omar right now, given what I’ve learned about her since the election and given her apparent inability to stop insulting Jews,” Latz said.
Of course, until an actual primary challenger emerges to take on Omar, the rumblings and reports of discontent in her district are just that. But there’s no denying that the congresswoman has stepped on many toes in a very short time, and Minnesota voters just might have “buyer’s remorse” after all.
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