Ilhan Omar defeats primary challenger by less than 2,500 votes

Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar Star Tribune via Getty Images / Contributor

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is on track to win a third term representing Minnesota's deep-blue 5th Congressional District after narrowly fending off a primary challenge on Tuesday.

Omar won 57,683 votes — 50.3 percent of the total — while former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels came up short with 55,217 votes, or 48.2 percent.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Samuels said his campaign had "the right read on the voters" but wasn't able to "pull it off in the length of time we had." Samuels, a 73-year-old Jamaican immigrant, attempted "to portray himself as less politically volatile" than his opponent, focusing on Omar's support for a 2021 Minneapolis ballot measure to disband the city's police department and her feud with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

Omar's margin of victory over Samuels was by far the slimmest of her career. In 2018, Omar became the first Somali American elected to Congress, receiving a plurality of 48.2 percent in the district's open primary and beating out the second-place finisher by nearly 18 points. The "Squad" member won a second term in 2020 after winning that year's primary by a similar margin.

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