Don Samuels announces another run against Ilhan Omar
Former Minneapolis City Council and former Minneapolis School Board member Don Samuels officially announced his running for the 2024 Democratic primary in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District Sunday morning.
He adds that he “believes in an affirmative vision of progress for our country where each individual can reach their full potential” and supports funding improved community safety systems, targeting the achievement gap and climate-resilient infrastructure.
Samuels is also accusing Omar of offending “many constituencies” and undermining the Biden administration during her time in office.
Samuels shared the following written statement as part of his announcement:
“Our neighbors deserve a leader who will represent our values in Washington, D.C., working
with the Biden administration and other democratic colleagues to strengthen democracy,
promote peace around the globe, and create a future of opportunity in America. At a time where democratic institutions are under attack both at home and abroad, I believe there’s an exhausted majority of my neighbors looking for leaders who seek to strengthen our civic foundations using government to make a difference, not to just cynically make a point. That’s what I’ve done throughout my life, and that’s what I’ll do if I’m elected.
Locally, my opponent was a strident supporter of the defund the police movement, even
rebuking President Barack Obama when he referred to it as a ‘snappy slogan’ that would make
reform more difficult. Nationally, she also voted against President Biden’s signature infrastructure legislation.
Internationally, she voted against aid for Ukraine. She voted against sanctions on Russia and
previously Turkey, saying that she opposes all sanctions against any nation ‘friend or foe.’ Yet,
she supports them against Israel.
In addition, she decried foreign influence spending in her infamous ‘Benjamins’ quote, yet she takes trips paid for by Pakistan and Qatar, the latter to rub elbows with celebrities at a World Cup match in a stadium built by slave labor. She has even gone so far as boycotting speeches to Congress by leaders from India and Israel because of what she says were human rights objections.”Don Samuels
This comes during a time of division in the Democratic Party over the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. Omar has been critical of the Israeli government’s handling of the war and was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in February.
Representative Ilhan Omar shared the following written statement in response:
“I’m incredibly proud of the model of cogovernance we’ve built in the 5th District, which has included monthly town halls, routine constituent service resource fairs and a brand new district office. I’ve brought over $40 million to the district in the form of community projects—including a brand new affordable housing facility for veterans in Robbinsdale that I toured this weekend. As a leader of the House Budget Committee and Progressive Caucus, I’ve continued to fight for the progressive values Minnesotans sent me to advocate for—whether it’s fighting to codify Roe v. Wade into law, pushing for historic climate legislation, addressing the opioid crisis or fighting for an assault weapons ban. Together we’ve been able to achieve a lot, including a landmark public safety bill I negotiated to secure major investments in local departments and real accountability, the biggest effort to fight climate change in the history of the country and historic funding to feed over 30 million kids during the pandemic.
“Right-wing donors have targeted me since I first entered public life, so I am not surprised that my challenger previously recieved contributions from Harlan Crow, the same far-right billionaire who bankrolled Clarence Thomas. Nor am I surprised that he took $350,000 from AIPAC’s super-PAC—a Super PAC funded by Donald Trump’s largest donors like Paul Singer. If we’re going to stop Donald Trump, we need record turnout, and I am confident in our ability to drive turnout, particularly in a presidential election year.”Representative Ilhan Omar
Political science experts weighed in on the announcement.
“This a serious challenge for Rep. Omar. Don Samuels is well-known in the district. He did very well last time,” Larry Jacobs, U of M political science expert, said.
Jacobs calls the competition between the two candidates unusual because normally the party supports the incumbent member of Congress.
“Not in this case. Representative Omar is quite unpopular with factions within the Democratic party, and she’s continuing to draw attention,” he said. “Rep. Omar is not popular with a lot of groups, particularly the groups representing Israel and some of the more moderate political groups so I think we’re going to see money and effort coming into the Fifth Congressional District to challenge Representative Omar.”
Jacobs explained lawmakers on the other side of the aisle may view the two Democrats facing off as a win.
“This cheers the Republican party,” he said. “The Republican party would love to see Democrats pouring their money and their effort into fighting each other.”