Minnesota paper abandons ‘special unicorn’ Ilhan Omar on eve of primary
Minnesota’s paper of record dealt controversial Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D) quest for reelection a blow this week by endorsing her opponent in the upcoming Democrat Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) primary after Omar called herself a “special unicorn” in an interview with the paper’s editorial board.
In Minnesota, the Democrat Party is called the DFL.
“After careful consideration and interviews with both, the Star Tribune Editorial Board recommends Melton-Meaux, a first-time candidate with strong progressive values that align well with the district, as well as consensus-building skills honed as a professional mediator,” said the Minneapolis Star Tribune in its endorsement.
The paper is not alone in abandoning Omar, either. As the Minnesota Post notes, Melton-Meaux raised an incredible $3.2 from donors in the 2nd quarter of 2020, compared to $471,000 for Omar. That’s an almost unheard of difference between a first-time challenger and an incumbent representative to Congress.
The Star Tribune explains the desertion of Omar by noting that the incumbent “wants to lead a movement, Melton-Meaux seeks to serve the Fifth District.”
The paper’s editorial board also cites Omar’s several ethics issues involving charges of nepotism and campaign finance irregularity as distractions that the voters of a fractured district don’t need.
“In the Editorial Board interview,” says the paper, “Omar took little responsibility for her rocky start, instead largely blaming her critics and saying her failing was perhaps in not realizing what a ‘special unicorn’ she would be in Congress.”
Omar has been accused of self-dealing by paying her new husband’s travel expenses, plus $1.6 million in fees for political consulting.
Thus far, Omar has raised $4,221,786 for her campaign versus $4,113,010 for Melton-Meaux. Both had around $700,000 in cash on hand as of July 20.
The paper also included an “endorsement counterpoint” opposing its support of Melton-Meaux.
“I know Ilhan as a woman full of righteous indignation and fiery compassion for the people of her district,” says Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. “I know her as someone willing, and eager, to engage in the good trouble the late John Lewis encouraged us all to do.”
Jenkins recently told a local reporter at the progressive Minnesota Post that the single most important issue in America is racism.
“Culturally embedded racism impacts every part of your body and mind,” she said.
It’s likely that the narrow focus of Omar that has the Star Tribune worried about her suitability for the district, notwithstanding her self-described status as a “special unicorn.”
“Melton-Meaux fully grasps the needs of the diverse constituency he hopes to represent, and, if given a chance, is the kind of leader who could unite a fractured district,” the endorsement concluded.
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