Nov 12, 2023 - Politics

Rep. Ilhan Omar faces repeat primary challenge from Democrat Don Samuels

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and Don Samuels. Photos courtesy of the Don Samuels campaign and the U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) will face a 2024 primary challenge from the prominent Minneapolis Democrat she narrowly defeated last year.

The big picture: Omar is one of at least four House Democrats affiliated with the progressive "Squad" coalition to attract a serious primary challenger following their criticism of Israel's actions in the wake of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack.

Driving the news: Don Samuels, a 74-year-old former city council member and mayoral candidate, announced on Sunday his second consecutive bid for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District.

  • He lost his 2022 primary campaign against the incumbent congresswoman by 2 percentage points, or about 2,500 votes.

What they're saying: Samuels, who attacked Omar over her stance on police and past comments on Israel during the 2022 campaign, told the Star Tribune that the three-term incumbent has "dug a deeper hole, especially in this most recent [Israel-Hamas] crisis."

  • "[She] continues to demonstrate that there's an urgent need for new leadership."

The other side: Omar defended her tenure in a statement to the paper, saying she fights for "the progressive values Minnesotans sent me to advocate for."

Of note: Attorney Sarah Gad and Tim Peterson, an Air Force veteran, have also filed to run in the primary against Omar.

  • On the Republican side, 2020 candidate Dalia Al-Aqidi has announced a campaign.

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