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Ilhan Omar Faces Formidable Challengers in Heated Minnesota’s 5th District Primary Race

by Jessica
Ilhan Omar

In the upcoming primary election for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, Democratic incumbent Ilhan Omar faces a challenging race with three formidable opponents. After narrowly losing in the 2022 primary, former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels has announced his candidacy, emphasizing Omar’s vulnerability and claiming that she has made missteps.

Samuels, a moderate Democrat, criticized Omar for being a polarizing figure and highlighted her previous attack on Obama regarding police budget cuts. He asserted that some supporters are drawn to him based on his character and intentions, while others are motivated by concerns about Omar’s actions.

Another candidate entering the race is Dalia al-Aqidi, a pro-Israel Muslim immigrant from Iraq and a longtime broadcast journalist in Minnesota. Running as a Republican, al-Aqidi has labeled Omar as the most antisemitic member of Congress.

The two candidates have opposing views on the Israel-Hamas conflict, with al-Aqidi strongly advocating for Israel. She aims to focus on issues such as school choice, eliminating Critical Race Theory, reducing inflation, and securing borders, rejecting the “identity politics game.”

Al-Aqidi, emphasizing that her religion should not define her candidacy, expressed concern about the influence of identity politics in the U.S. She accused Omar of being Congress’ biggest anti-Semite, citing Omar’s vote against a resolution supporting Israel after an attack by Palestinian-backed Hamas.

In response, Omar stated that she mourns the lives taken by both Hamas and the Israeli military, explaining her vote against the resolution. Al-Aqidi launched her campaign about a month ago, emphasizing her belief that the people in Minneapolis should not be represented by Omar.

During a visit to Israel, she criticized Omar and fellow Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for allegedly trying to equate criticism of radical Islamism with criticism of Muslims. Al-Aqidi, who identifies as Muslim, shared her personal experience of being in the U.S. during 9/11 and emphasized her love for America, fleeing hostility and oppression in the Middle East.

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