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Tue Mar 26, 2019, 12:26 PM

Can Rep. Ilhan Omar turn page after string of controversies? [View all]


In Minnesota, Jewish leaders and constituents in Omar's strongly Democratic Fifth Congressional District joined in the criticism, and the weeks following the March 7 anti-bigotry vote in the House found some Democrats and activists in Minnesota privately buzzing about a possible Democratic primary challenge in 2020. In Washington, Republicans are working to capitalize on tension between Democrats and America's Jewish community, with several upcoming U.S. Senate votes planned on anti-Semitism measures. Even if no clear opponent to Omar stepped up, the sense, even among many of Omar's allies and supporters, is that continued missteps would make a challenge by a fellow Democrat much more likely.


While Omar tries to turn the page, some critics aren't ready to move on. "We all celebrated this historic election of a Muslim woman, a Somali immigrant, and I feel like she is taking this political capital, this enormous sense of goodwill and she's blowing it on a subject she is going to have very little effect on, which is the Israeli-Palestinian relationship," said Siyad Abdullahi, a Minneapolis entrepreneur who is well-connected in DFL circles. Abdullahi, who also is Somali, recently wrote a lengthy Facebook post that was critical of Omar. He said he's unlikely to challenge her next year but added: "You never say never in politics."


"I don't buy it anymore that she doesn't know what she's saying," said Dan Israel, a singer-songwriter from St. Louis Park. Israel, who is Jewish, plans to engage in the Fifth District nominating process next year and is looking for an alternative to Omar. "I'd like to not cede my party to people I feel don't have its best interests, and the best interests of the Jewish people, at heart," he said.


Amid the turmoil, Omar's political team has undergone some staff turnover as she has settled in to Washington. Aisha Chughtai, who managed Omar's campaign last year and initially stayed on as her top political aide, has since left that position. A campaign spokesman said the parting was amicable. Will Hailer, a former aide to Ellison and top official at the Democratic National Committee, is now serving as a political adviser.



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Reply Can Rep. Ilhan Omar turn page after string of controversies? [View all]
question everything Mar 2019 OP
trotsky Mar 2019 #1
geardaddy Mar 2019 #2
the_sly_pig Mar 2019 #3