Friday August 7, 2020
By William Bornhoft
As primary election day neared, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s main rival Antone Melton-Meaux reacted to a campaign finance complaint while Omar highlighted her ties to her district. Voters are divided in the most expensive primary campaign in the state.Left: Judy Griesedieck for MPR News 2018 | Right: Courtesy of Antone For Congress file
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Minnesota’s largest newspaper surprised readers Wednesday when its editorial board decided to endorse Antone Melton-Meaux for Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District over Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is finishing up her first term in Congress.
The editorial board said Melton-Meaux is the more practical choice for votes.
“Melton-Meaux brings a different sensibility to this race, one grounded in helping resolve disputes to move forward — a skill this country is much in need of,” the board wrote in its recommendation.
“While Omar wants to lead a movement, Melton-Meaux seeks to serve the Fifth District.”
While Melton-Meaux won the Star Tribune’s endorsement, Omar was recently endorsed by Insight News, a journal that serves the African American community in Twin Cities.
Omar is the first Somali-American member of Congress, the first woman of color to represent Minnesota in Congress, and one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress
She quickly became a nationally-recognized, though sometimes controversial figure. Her tweets became a subject of national conversation more than once.
In February, Omar issued an apology after receiving criticism from leaders in her own party over comments about Israel.
While she became a favorite target of President Donald Trump and other conservatives, she rose in popularity among progressives.
Omar, along with Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib have been dubbed “the squad.”
Earlier this summer, the four lawmakers announced their official endorsements of one another for reelection in 2020, and created the “Squad Victory Fund,” a joint fundraising committee that will support their campaigns and their leadership PACs.
The representatives said their continued leadership is especially critical as their communities struggle from the coronavirus crisis, racial injustices and inequities in health care, housing, education and the economy.
Omar has also endorsed the movement to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.
Melton-Meaux, who grew up in Cincinnati and moved to Minneapolis with his wife, practices law and has his own mediator practice. On his website, he states that “we need people in Congress who want to get things done—not who get distracted fighting with Donald Trump on Twitter or even with their own party. I’ll do the hard work that comes along with the demands of public office, while remaining Focused On The Fifth. I’m dedicated to service, not celebrity.”