Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is facing a well-funded primary challenge next week because she was so “damn effective” against big money interests, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday.
Speaking in support of her fellow “Squad” member in a live-streamed virtual “day of action,” Ocasio-Cortez said it was unusual to have heavily-funded primaries in heavily blue districts.
She argued that funders “usually like to get a bang for their buck” and were therefore more likely to contribute to races that have a good chance of tipping a seat from one party to the other.
“So when we’re the ones that are attracting multi-million dollar primary challengers in an unprecedented way, that just tells you how effective Ilhan is,” she said.
“That tells you how damn effective she is against big real estate, against our military-industrial complex, against our Wall Street complex, against basically every corrupt institution that we have right now in this country.”
“And they’re coming for each and every one of us.”
Omar made history in 2018 by becoming the first Somali American and one of the first two Muslim women – along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), also in the so-called “Squad” – to be elected to Congress.
Omar quickly waded into controversy, with provocative comments about Jews that roiled the party caucus, generating fretful debate and leading to a House resolution that was designed to put the issue to rest.
She faces a primary challenge next Tuesday from Antone Melton-Meaux, a black Minneapolis lawyer and “progressive, lifelong Democrat” who has painted Omar as divisive and overly focused on her national celebrity status, rather than on the needs of her district, which includes Minneapolis. Melton-Meaux significantly outraised Omar in second-quarter 2020 fundraising.
Omar has been endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party of Minnesota, whose chairman Ken Martin was quoted last month as charging that contributions to Omar’s challenger were an attempt to “silence a progressive champion rooted in xenophobia.”
Tlaib faces a tough primary challenge today, in her case from Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones – a rematch after Tlaib narrowly defeated Jones in the 2018 primary for Michigan’s 13th congressional district.
For her part, Ocasio-Cortez easily saw off three primary challengers in New York’s deep-blue 14th Congressional District last June, taking more than 70 percent of the vote.
Ocasio-Cortez told Omar on Sunday, “It is not an accident that I had a primary challenger funded by Wall Street, that Rashida [Tlaib] has a primary challenger, that you have a primary challenger, because when you speak truth to power, power fights back.”
“And it’s not a coincidence that these primary challengers who have cropped up are funded by Wall Street and dark money. So it’s really one of those big, like, ‘choose your fighter’ moments. Like, are you going to – do you really think that a Wall Street-backed, you know, lobbyist operation is really going to be what’s best for us, or are we going to back grassroots, people-backed candidates?”
Ocasio-Cortez said the “Squad” members of Congress had succeeded despite the opposition “because we have stayed with the people, and we don’t get shook.”
She said that there was a lot of “squirming in Washington right now” and not a lot of political courage in evidence.
“Which is why it’s so important that we have folks like Ilhan who are anchoring our Congress around a moral center that is accountable to everyday people, and not lobbyists or corporations that are looking to make a buck off of our public good, off of our public institutions.”