2 vulnerable Democrats put primary elections in the spotlight

Two vulnerable Democrats put primary elections in spotlight

Two vulnerable Democrats put primary elections in spotlight

Primary elections in Minnesota are often sleepy events serving as a prelude to more competitive races on Election Day in November. Not this year. You’ll want to circle the Aug. 13 primary date on your political calendar along with Nov. 5 in 2024.

“Twin Cities airwaves will be full of ads about primary candidates,” said Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier. “You can count on that. So if you enjoy those you’ve got a lot to look forward to.” 

So far this week two potentially formidable primary opponents emerged in the Fifth District Democratic primary for the seat now held by Ilhan Omar. After controversial statements about Israel in 2019, Omar narrowly beat former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels in a primary election. Samuels announced this week he’s running again. 

“Ilhan Omar has always been controversial and it’s hard to imagine she’s less controversial in the midst of a war between Hamas and Israel,” Schier said. 

In addition to Samuels, another Muslim woman Sarah Gad announced she’s also running against Omar. Gad’s announcement video features her in a jail cell to highlight her remarkable comeback from serving time behind bars to becoming a lawyer.

“Her story is an unusual and interesting one and that may make her more attractive as a candidate,” Schier told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

In the Third District, two candidates announced last week they’re running in that Democratic primary that may or may not include Dean Phillips, who is currently campaigning for president. In October, a DNC executive and former city official in Minneapolis Ron Harris announced he’s running in the Third. Last week, state Senator Kelly Morrison also announced she’s running.

“Phillips has recently said he believes he may have ended his future in the Democratic Party by running against President Biden,” Schier said. “We don’t know if he will or will not run for re-election so there’s a lot that’s up in the air in the Third District.”

Other Democratic candidates are likely to emerge in the Third District if Phillips doesn’t run for re-election. So far no major Republican has announced a candidacy in the Third District.