Is Ilhan Omar beatable now?

Source: Hot Air

Given the current conditions in Minneapolis, the fact that Democratic congresswoman and “Squad” member Ilhan Omar drew a primary challenger again wasn’t really surprising. That the final tally last night was such a nailbiter made it a lot more interesting, however. Omar survived the challenge from moderate Democrat Don Samuels, but only barely. The final count showed Omar with 50.5% of the vote while Samuels racked up 48% with nearly all precincts reporting. But as her challenger pointed out in his concession speech, this should demonstrate that Omar is beatable, either in a future primary or possibly even in the general election this November. The voters in Minneapolis are frustrated and angry, and Omar’s consistent push to “redirect police funds” (read: defund the police) isn’t selling as well as it used to. (Associated Press)

Omar, who represents Minneapolis and is one of the left’s leading voices in Congress, has defended calls to redirect public safety funding more into community-based programs. She squared off with former City Councilmember Don Samuels, whose north Minneapolis base suffers from more violent crime than other parts of the city.

Samuels argued that Omar is divisive and helped defeat a ballot question last year that sought to replace the city police department with a new public safety unit. He and others also successfully sued the city to force it to meet minimum police staffing levels called for in Minneapolis’ charter.

Samuels said his narrow loss shows that Omar is beatable: “If this was the general election, no doubt that we would have won this race.” Omar countered, “Tonight’s victory is a testament to how much our district believes in the collective values we are fighting for.”

Samuels was making a valid point last night. The results show that basically half of Omar’s own party in Minneapolis was willing to vote against her. Of course, that doesn’t mean that all of those people will suddenly be willing to vote for a Republican, but some of them might. And many others obviously aren’t going to be as enthusiastic about showing up for her in November. If her opponent in the general election is perceived as not being “too far to the right,” she could conceivably be replaced.

That opponent will be Republican Cicely Davis, who won the GOP primary with almost 50% of the vote in a three-way field. She has been running on a law and order platform and a promise to “return prosperity” to Minneapolis. Looking around at the current state of the city, that should be a fairly appealing message. Omar took 64% of the vote in the 2020 general election, but that was during the height of the BLM insurgency and before the city really started to fall into chaos and a protracted crime wave. Things might play out differently this time.

A loss in November by Omar would send a chill through the House Progressive Caucus and the far left wing of the party. If a Squad member can be defeated in a significantly blue city, that would certainly take some of the wind out of their sales. It could also wake up some other Democrats and make them realize that they need to restore order in this country or they too might be shown the door.

Minneapolis is probably one of the best test cases for a scenario like the one I’m describing. That city was among the hardest hit by the “defund the police” movement. Their depleted police force is still nowhere near back to full staffing and crime rates remain far above pre-pandemic levels. The city’s population has been declining as people flee to seek safer places to live, leaving the city with a smaller tax base to deal with these challenges. The stage may be set for an upset, and if so, Omar will be forced to look for a book deal or a spot on some liberal board of directors. Or, even more horrifying, she might have to get an actual job.