Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is among the most controversial and polarizing figures in all of Congress, and while Republicans have their sights set on making her a one-term congresswoman, it could actually be the Democrats who end up ousting her from office.
Omar’s main challenger in the upcoming Minnesota Democratic primary election has reportedly raised more than $3.2 million in the second quarter — roughly seven times more than Omar managed — and has blanketed the district with ads to help unseat the incumbent, Fox News reported.
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, Antone Melton-Meaux received $3.2 million in donations in the second quarter compared to only about $471,600 raised by Omar’s campaign during the same period, Fox News noted.
Challenger outraises incumbent
MinnPost reported that Melton-Meaux’s surge in funding for his campaign in the second quarter was remarkable in comparison to the scant funding he attracted in all of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, just shy of $400,000 in total. Meanwhile, Omar raised about $2.9 million in 2019 and roughly $446,000 in the first quarter of this year.
That initial gap in fundraising between Omar and Melton-Meaux has since closed, causing MinnPost to take a deeper look at the FEC reports to try and figure out why.
As it turns out, a substantial portion of Omar’s donations over the second quarter came from small-dollar contributions under $200, known as unitemized contributions for which identifying information on the individual donors is not required.
In contrast, the overwhelming majority of Melton-Meaux’s funds have come by way of itemized contributions of more than $200, with some of his identified donors being local political establishment figures in Minnesota, local and national business leaders, and a number of political action committees, particularly those with a pro-Israel viewpoint that stand firmly opposed to Omar’s notorious anti-Semitism.
Melton-Meaux’s financial advantage
The Hill reported that Omar remains the favorite to win her primary fight as well as the general election in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District. She has the backing of the state and national party and key labor unions.
Yet, while her campaign has bragged about internal polling that shows her with a nearly 40-point lead over her closest challenger, other polling from Democratic sources outside of her campaign have suggested that Melton-Meaux may actually be much closer to toppling Omar from her seat than she may believe.
Interestingly, considering how much more Omar raised in 2019 and the first quarter compared to Melton-Meaux, she is actually at a financial disadvantage right now, according to FEC filings showing that Melton-Meaux has about $2 million in cash on hand as opposed to only about $1.1 million in available cash for Omar, as Newsweek noted.
Lasting impact of unrest
The Hill mentioned — though declined to explore — the potential impact on the race of George Floyd’s death and the resultant riots and unrest that have gutted many small businesses in Minneapolis. Omar has stood strong in support of those protests and joined the far-left’s calls to dismantle the police, as The Hill reported separately.
Watching their congresswoman cheer as their city was looted and burned and engage in the many other controversies that have swirled around Omar for the past few years may very well be enough to prompt a majority of voters in the district to say enough is enough and cast their vote for her opponent, but only time will tell.