Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar roundly beat her pro-Israel opponent in the Democratic primaries on Tuesday, making her official nominee for Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District.
Omar was challenged by Antone Melton-Meaux, a pro-Israel candidate on whom the pro-Israel lobby had pinned their hopes to defeat the Palestine ally.
Omar received 57.4 per cent of 160,938 votes counted, with Melton-Meaux receiving 39.2 per cent of the vote.
Melton-Meaux, who describes himself as “pro-Israel” and “progressive”, attempted to make Omar’s comments about Israel a primary focus of his campaign, branding her “divisive”.
He conceded to Omar when it became clear she had won the primary.
Omar took to Twitter to thank her supporters:
Thank you.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) August 12, 2020
Thank you to all our volunteers. And thank you to the election officials, postal workers, and other government employees who make our democracy thrive—even in a pandemic.
More than anything, this election was a beautiful example of democracy in action. pic.twitter.com/P0frE4pvTs
Melton-Meaux has several pro-Israel backers such as NORPAC and Pro-Israel America, two political action committees that tend to lean right on Israel policy, and his entire campaign massively outspent Omar’s.
Omar, a vocal supporter of Palestine and Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, has previously been criticised for her comments on Israel, and repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism.
She is also a member of a group in congress known as “The Squad”, which has a reputation for being left leaning and critical of Israel. The Squad includes New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Palestinian-American Michigan rep Rashida Tlaib, and Massachusetts’ Ayanna Presley.
The Squad is expected to grow, as left leaning democratic candidates roundly beat their right-wing opponents, including Jamaal Bowman, a former educator and candidate in New York, and Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush, who is standing in Missouri.
When Omar and fellow Squad member Tlaib attempted to visit the West Bank on a congressional trip last year, they were denied entry.