Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05)

Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar is running for an open seat to represent the state of Minnesota in the 5th Congressional district. She is facing three other candidates in the Democratic primary on August 14, 2018. The current Democratic incumbent, Keith Ellison, is not running for reelection because he has recently decided to run for Minnesota Attorney General. If Omar wins the Democratic primary, she will face the winner of the Republican primary in the November 6 general elections. Currently, there are three Republicans running for this seat. But in this solid Democratic district, winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to winning the seat.

Background and Achievements

Ilhan Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. Her family fled the civil war in 1991 and relocated to a refugee camp in Kenya. Upon moving to the United States, her family settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she learned English in just three months. She achieved her Bachelor of Arts from North Dakota State University. Omar was a Humphrey Policy Fellow as well as a senior Policy Aide for a Minneapolis City Council Member. She is the Director of Policy and Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network. She ran for office in 2016, when she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 60B. At this point in 2016, she made history as the first Somali-American Muslim Legislator in the United States.

Positions on Key Issues

  • Advocates for women’s reproductive rights
  • Supports raising the federal minimum wage
  • Advocates for paid family leave
  • Supports universal health coverage
  • Advocates for high quality public school education
  • Supports debt-free public college
  • Advocates for gun violence prevention
  • Supports abolishing ICE
  • Advocates for the DREAM Act
  • Supports the legalization of marijuana
  • Advocates for reforming the criminal justice system
  • Supports the usage of renewable energy and green manufacturing
  • Advocates for high-paying union jobs
  • Supports the expansion of safe and affordable housing
  • Advocates for reinstating Net Neutrality

Prospects & Opponents

In June, incumbent Keith Ellison announced he is not seeking re-election and has endorsed Ilhan Omar. She has clearly out-funded her Democratic opponents, and she looks to be a front-runner. Minnesota’s 5thdistrict has been solidly Democratic for years, and the Cook Political Report predicts this will remain the case.


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