Despite an estimated $13 million pouring into the district, incumbent Rep. Ilhan Omar cruised to victory won Tuesday night’s Democratic-Famer-Labor Party Primary according to the Associated Press. She leads her main challenger, Antone Melton-Meaux, 58 percent to 39 percent, with 98 percent of the vote counted.
“In Minnesota, we know that organized people will always beat organized money,” Omar tweeted after the victory was called. “Tonight, our movement didn’t just win. We earned a mandate for change. Despite outside efforts to defeat us, we once again broke turnout records. Despite the attacks, our support has only grown.
“It has been the honor of my life to represent you in Congress and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the 5th District in the years to come.”
The final vote tally won’t be in for a couple of days; as long as mail-in ballots were postmarked by Aug. 11, and received by Aug. 13, they will be counted. Because the district is one of the most heavily Democratic in the country, Omar will go back to Washington for a second term after November’s general election.
Melton-Meaux expressed disappointment in the outcome.
“We didn’t get to where we wanted to be,” he told TC Jewfolk. “We fought long and hard, and when you don’t get there you’ll be deeply disappointed. But at this moment, I have a lot of gratitude and joy in the journey.”
He said his call with Omar to concede was “brief.”
“I wanted to reach out to her, and wish her and her family well,” he said.
Melton-Meaux, a first-time candidate, had a lot of support from the Jewish community in the district and nationally. His second-quarter Federal Election Commission filings showed significant contributions from organizations like Pro-Israel America, which was started by former AIPAC staffers and had donated nearly $400,000 to Melton-Meaux, while NORPAC has donated just over $100,000.
In both of Omar’s congressional primaries, she faced crowded fields but ultimately ran away to victory. In 2018, against strong competition from State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher, she had 65,000 votes and 48 percent of the vote. This year, she was up to 57 percent of the vote and more than 86,000 votes, while Melton-Meaux is at the same vote total that Torres Ray and Anderson Kelliher garnered in 2018.
Ultimately, the map looks very similar to how it looked in 2018; Omar won significant majorities in Minneapolis, while also winning in the suburbs of Hopkins, Robbinsdale, Brooklyn Center, and Richfield. Melton-Meaux won in Golden Valley, Edina, and southwest Minneapolis. The suburbs make up about 40 percent of the district.
Melton-Meaux was not committing to future political efforts.
“I ran as an expression of love for district, and that reservoir of love is deeper than before,” he said. “I look forward to getting back to being dad and husband.”