Rep. Ilhan Omar Wins DFL Endorsement in 5th Congressional District

August 01, 2018 09:03 AM

At a hastily called special convention in Minneapolis on Sunday, the DFL endorsed Rep. Ilhan Omar in the race for the 5th Congressional District.

— Beth McDonough (@bmcdonoughkstp) June 17, 2018

Omar won the endorsement with 68 percent of the vote.

"This is what winning looks like," Omar said with a big smile on her face afterward.

"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."

The convention took place at Clara Barton School from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Organizers said this was one of the only weekends available to hold a convention ahead of early voting and the endorsement could be influential. 

RELATED: 5 DFL Candidates Race to Lock Up Delegate Endorsement 

Early voting begins June 29.

Rep. Keith Ellison is leaving the seat so he can run for State Attorney General. Now there are five DFL candidates remaining to contest for the seat.

Candidates have spent the past two weeks scrambling to get support. They all described the race as a once-in-a-career opportunity.

"We have a lot at stake this year, and we're going to need an organizer and someone who is ready on day one and mobilize,"  Omar said.

"You were at the convention, you know the amazing activity that took place in there," Sen. Patricia Torres Ray said. "Obviously, all of us got inspired as you can tell and so we are taking this opportunity."

However, two candidates announced they wouldn't show up to the convention or seek the party's support. 

Jamal Abdi Abdulahi released a statement Saturday criticizing the impromptu nature of the meeting. Abdulahi also doesn't like that it falls on Father's Day.

KSTP 2018 Election Page

Former Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Kelliher said she wouldn't attend, adding that "the convention needlessly limits discussion and debate. She said the upcoming primary should be for all Minnesotans in the 5th District to decide and not a small group of people."

The 5th District DFL said the decision to hold the convention is supported by a majority of the CD5 Executive Committee. Despite not showing up, both Abdulahi and Kelliher said they are campaigning and excited about running.

"Congressional seats don't open up that frequently," Abdulahi said. "There is an opportunity to have a conversation about some of the things that are impacted nationally, but in the district, as well."

"I think that it can be viewed as an opportunity to mobilize a lot of people into the process. Elections work when people are involved, when they vote, when they get active," Kelliher said.

One hundred and eighty delegates represented the 5th CD which covers parts of Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka counties. There are 700,000 potential voters and it's the most Democratic district in the state. 


Jonathan Rozelle & Beth McDonough

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