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Don Samuels announces he'll challenge Rep. Ilhan Omar again in Minnesota 5th District

Don Samuels to challenge Ilhan Omar for 2nd time in 2024 election
Don Samuels to challenge Ilhan Omar for 2nd time in 2024 election 02:52

MINNEAPOLIS — A major announcement Sunday as former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels, who nearly beat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in 2022, is running for the seat again.

Minnesota's 5th Congressional District is overwhelmingly Democratic. The independent Cook political partisan index ranks it as a plus 30 Democratic seat. That means it is 30 points more Democratic than the average district across the country. And that means the Democratic primary, which is in August 2024, is the contest that will almost certainly decide who goes to Congress from Minneaplis and its inner ring suburbs. 

In 2022, there was very nearly a stunning primary upset. Samuels almost beat Omar, losing by just 2,500 votes. Now Samuels announced he is running against Omar again on WCCO Sunday Morning at 10:30 a.m.

"As of today I am launching my campaign for Congressional CD 5," he said. "A rematch."

Samuels is a former Minneapolis City Council candidate and was one of the leading voices against defunding the Minneapolis Police Department. The race this time will likely attract national money and attention. 

Omar is a lightning rod for controversy. She has, in the past, apologized for what were seen as antisemitic remarks. As the current war rages in Israel, Omar, after condemning the Hamas attacks on Israelis, has been among the voices calling for a ceasefire.

In the aftermath of George Floyd's murder she was among those backing an overhaul of the Minneapolis police, but since then she has moderated her stand. In September of 2022 she broke with progressives by negotiating a compromise funding bill for police departments across the country. Since the 2022 general election Omar has also been far more visible in both the district and the state, for example attending this weekend's Veterans Day ceremony in Inver Grove Heights.

The others who have announced they are running for the 5th Congressional District seat are Dalia Al Quida, a journalist running for the GOP, and for the DFL, attorney Sarah Gad and Air Force veteran Tim Peterson.

Omar issued the following statement in response to Samuels' announcement: "I'm incredibly proud of the model of cogovernance we've built in the 5th District, which has included monthly town halls, routine constituent service resources fairs and a brand new district office. I've brought over $40 million to the district in the form of community projects."

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Adam Del Rosso every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.  

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