Ilhan Omar's Win Means the Squad Is Heading Back to Congress

Omar won handily, despite her well-funded primary opponent, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez already won big.
August 12, 2020, 1:46pm
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

One of the most vocal left-wing members of the Squad is heading back to Congress.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar easily dispatched primary challenger Antone Melton-Meaux and three others in the Minnesota primary on Tuesday night, securing a double-digit victory. Omar won even though Melton-Meaux essentially matched her fundraising totals by raising more than $4 million, with support from pro-Israel super PACs.

Because of the money backing Melton-Meaux, and because Omar has come under fire in her first term for comments she’s made about the influence of the Israel lobby on American politics, she was seen as a prime target for a primary from the center. Though Melton-Meaux shared many of her policy preferences, he attacked her during the campaign as a “divider” more focused on growing the progressive movement than working for the district.

Ultimately, it didn’t work. As of Tuesday morning, Omar had 57 percent of the vote to Melton-Meaux’s 39 percent, while three other candidates combined for roughly three percent of the vote.

Omar’s win is the latest victory for the freshman Squad of legislators seeking re-election to Congress next year. After upsetting longtime Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in 2018, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earned three-quarters of the vote in her June primary challenge from former CNBC contributor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. And last week, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib soundly defeated former Detroit city council president Brenda Jones in a rematch from 2018.

The fourth member of the Squad, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, is not facing a primary challenge in her Boston-area district. All four represent deep-blue districts, meaning they’re virtually guaranteed to win re-election in November.

Cover: From left, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., respond to base remarks by President Donald Trump after he called for four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their "broken" countries. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)