DFL Endorsee for Ellison’s Seat Would Be First Muslim Congresswoman

Ilhan Omar is vying for the open seat in Minnesota’s 5th District

Ilhan Omar, left, and filmmaker Norah Shapiro attend the premiere of “Time For Ilhan,” which tells her story of running for office in Minnesota, during the Tribeca Film Festival in April. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images file photo)

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsed Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar at a special convention Sunday in her bid to succeed Rep. Keith Ellison. After Ellison abruptly announced two weeks ago he would run for state attorney general, five DFL candidates are vying for the open 5th District seat.

Omar won the endorsement with 68 percent of the vote, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.

If elected, Omar would be the first Muslim congresswoman, following in the footsteps of Ellison, who was the first Muslim congressman. As a first-term member of the Minnesota House for Minneapolis, Omar is the only Somali-American lawmaker in the U.S.

Omar, who immigrated to this country at age 12, is the star of "Time for Ilhan," a documentary chronicling her fast-track to political stardom. The documentary, released in April 2018, is a nominee at the Tribeca Film Festival.

“Omar represents what’s great about America,” DFL Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement. “Raised by a family of public servants who were forced from their homeland because of civil war and after four years in a refugee camp immigrated to the U.S., Omar has shown her dedication to serving all families who want a better life for their children.”

State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and real estate broker Frank Drake had both sought the endorsement and plan to continue their campaigns, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Other candidates include former Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Somali-American DFL Caucus founder Jamal Abdulahi. The two opted to skip the Minneapolis convention and focus on the primary.

Candidates seeking the Republican nod include health care professional Jennifer Zielinski, chaplain Christopher Chamberlin and journalist Bob “Again” Carney Jr. The GOP endorsement went to Zielinski.

Early voting begins June 29, and an August 14 primary will follow. Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic

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