Democratic Rep Ilhan Omar narrowly wins her primary in Minnesota

Sign up for the daily Inside Washington email for exclusive US coverage and analysis sent to your inbox Get our free Inside Washington email Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP I would like to be emailed about offers, events and updates from The Independent. Read our privacy notice Thanks for signing up to the

Inside Washington email {{ #verifyErrors }}{{ message }}{{ /verifyErrors }}{{ ^verifyErrors }}Something went wrong. Please try again later{{ /verifyErrors }}

Progressive Representative Ilhan Omar won her primary in Minnesota, despite facing a tougher challenge than expected.

Ms Omar, who first won her seat in 2018, earned 50.35 per cent of the vote on Tuesday evening in her race against former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels. Ms Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, represents Minnesota’s 5th District, which includes large parts of Minneapolis.

Since assuming office, Ms Omar and progressive Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Cori Bush of Missouri and Jamaal Bowman of New York have formed a group known as “the Squad”.

Mr Samuels received a last-minute boost when Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey endorsed him, as well as the editorial board of The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

During his concession address, he remarked on the feat of being able to come within striking distance of Ms Omar.

“The fact that we could be two-and-a-half points behind an incumbent in the United States Congress, says that if the playing field were even, if this was not an incumbent challenger’s race, we would win this race,” he said, according to Fox 9.

At the same time, he noted how Ms Omar earned the endorsement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders of Minnesota’s Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) leaders.

“And to come this close means we have our finger on the pulse of the exhausted majority,” Mr Samuels said.

Mr Samuels specifically emphasised in his campaign how he opposed a ballot initiative last year that would have replaced the Minneapolis Police Department with a department of public safety. The initiative came after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd in 2020, which sparked the surge in Black Lives Matter protests.

Ms Omar has become one of the most visible progressive Democrats in Congress and she serves as whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She, along with other Squad members, were the only Democrats to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill last year out of concern there was not a concurring vote for Build Back Better, Democrats’ proposed social spending bill.

She’s also been the subject of intense scrutiny, as former president Donald Trump regularly targeted her for criticism. She also received death threats after far-right Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado made a joke implying she was a terrorist.

But Ms Omar’s victory is also the slimmest margin so far for a Squad member. Last week, Ms Bush won her primary with almost 69.5 per cent of the vote in Missouri’s 1st District, while Rashida Tlaib overwhelmingly won her primary in Michigan in the newly-drawn 12th District.