The Minnesota Star-Tribune endorsed one of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) primary challengers and suggested that the first-term congresswoman has failed to “unite” her district.
The Star-Tribune, the largest newspaper in the state, endorsed Democratic candidate Antone Melton-Meaux over Omar in an editorial published Wednesday. The race for Omar’s reelection has attracted millions of dollars in an effort to unseat the incumbent with a history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments.
“Melton-Meaux brings a different sensibility to this race, one grounded in helping resolve disputes to move forward — a skill this country is much in need of,” the Star-Tribune says. “Whether it’s health care, criminal justice or affordable housing, Melton-Meaux appears progressive, but pragmatic. While Omar wants to lead a movement, Melton-Meaux seeks to serve the Fifth District.”
The editorial board contrasted Omar’s push to defund and abolish police departments and her embrace of a government takeover of the health insurance industry against Melton-Meaux’s more “pragmatic” approaches.
“Omar’s 2018 victory launched her into the national spotlight as the first Muslim woman and first refugee elected to Congress. But her time has been marred by missteps, including remarks on Israel widely regarded as anti-Semitic, an outsized number of missed votes, and campaign-finance issues,” the board continued, noting that “Omar has sent more than $1.6 million to her husband’s D.C. political consulting firm, E Street Group, and is herself the target of a Federal Election Commission complaint regarding travel expenses.”
“It is just these kinds of ethical distractions that the Fifth District could do without,” the board said. “In the Editorial Board interview, Omar took little responsibility for her rocky start, instead largely blaming her critics and saying her failing was perhaps in not realizing what a ‘special unicorn’ she would be in Congress.”
The Democratic establishment has largely coalesced behind Omar, one of the benefits of incumbency. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed the freshmen lawmaker on July 13 as funding for Melton-Meaux’s candidacy surged into the race.
As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
Omar is being challenged by Minnesota attorney Antone Melton-Meaux in a race that has caught the attention of Pro-Israel America and NORPAC. The pro-Israel political action committees have committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to unseating Omar, one of the most anti-Israel members of Congress, ahead of the Aug. 11 primary.
From April to the end of June, Melton-Meaux outraised Omar by a staggering $3.2 million to under $500,000. Melton-Meaux’s campaign still has $2 million cash on hand versus Omar’s $1.1 million, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune.
The Star-Tribune continued: “Both Omar and Melton-Meaux have compelling stories that, in their own ways, are quintessentially American. Omar’s refugee story is well-known. Melton-Meaux is the descendant of American emancipated slaves. His mother grew up picking cotton, and his father used service in Vietnam and the GI bill to put himself through college and lift his family into the middle class. Melton-Meaux rose to become an attorney and mediator who also has worked on foster children’s cases through the Children’s Law Center and dedicated time at the Conflict Resolution Center and College Possible.”
“Melton-Meaux fully grasps the needs of the diverse constituency he hopes to represent, and, if given a chance, is the kind of leader who could unite a fractured district,” the board concluded.