Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) got a prominent Democratic primary challenger on Sunday when former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels announced he’ll try once again to unseat her after coming close in 2022, The Associated Press reports.
“Our congresswoman has a predilection to divisiveness and conflict,” Samuels said in an interview with AP ahead of his official announcement Sunday morning on WCCO Radio.
Samuels challenged Omar in the 2022 primary, but Omar narrowly won that contest by fewer than 2,500 votes.
The Jamaican-born Samuels still maintains that his narrow primary loss in 2022 showed Omar was beatable, and that he could have won if they had competed later in the general election, where Omar won 74% of the vote over a little-known Republican.
Samuels criticized Omar for voting against placing sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine but supporting sanctions against Israel, and for boycotting President Isaac Herzog’s speech to Congress in July.
“She has frightened the Jewish community,” Samuels charged, adding that the community “understands that there is a latent and lurking antisemitic sentiment that always needs discouragement, and always in times of national crisis raises its ugly head.”
Samuels also stated that people sometimes “mistake her oppositional nature and divisive nature for someone who’s speaking truth to power when in fact she is misusing her power, or not using her power, to make change.”
Omar has long been known for her anti-Israel statements, going back to 2019, when she came under fire after she suggested on Twitter that Republicans were attacking her at the behest of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.
She subsequently issued a half-hearted apology before ultimately deleting the controversial tweets.
In another incident, Omar shared to Twitter a video of a conversation she had with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in which she appeared to compare Israel and the United States to Hamas and the Taliban.
In 2019, Israel announced it would bar entry to Omar and fellow Muslim congresswoman Rashida Tlaib over their support for BDS.
Omar has recently come under fire again for her condemnation of Israel’s actions in the war against Hamas.
The congresswoman caused an uproar and was criticized after she retweeted a photo of dead children and claiming that they died as a result of the IAF's bombing of Gaza. The photo was revealed to be a photo of children who died as a result of the Syrian army's nerve gas bombing.
She later was quick to blame Israel for an explosion at a hospital in Gaza which was ultimately proven to have been caused by an Islamic Jihad rocket.