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Rep. Ilhan Omar Continues To Rally Support Amid Controversy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar continues to deal with the fall out of another controversy.

Last week, the Minnesota State Campaign Finance Board ruled she should repay $3,500 for misusing campaign funds and had Board documents also found she had filed two years of taxes jointly with her partner before the two married in 2018.

Omar's campaign issued a statement this week saying all of her taxes filings are legal.

WCCO's Esme Murphy looks into how much the controversies will hurt her politically.

The latest controversy is the subject of a Star Tribune's editorial. The headline: the Congresswoman's credibility takes another hit.

Prior controversies include a series of her tweets that were widely criticized as anti-semitic.

She apologized for those, but still became the target of President Trump's twitter feed which falsely linked her to the 9/11 attacks.

Omar has mostly shied away from public comments on controversies and has publicly focused on policies like protecting Minnesota's Liberian community from deportation, equal pay and immigration.

At a May 16 rally, she criticized the President's immigration policy saying, "make no mistake, this plan would have a devastating effect on millions of people around the world who like me, have dreams of coming to this land of opportunity."

A review of Congresswoman Omar's campaign finances as well as a look ahead to her 2020 reelection prospects finds that Omar appears at this point not to have been weakened with the people who count the most, the overwhelmingly democratic and very progressive voters of the fifth congressional district, as well as Democratic donors across the country.

In the first quarter of 2019, Congresswoman Omar raised $832,000 -- the seventh highest total of any House Democrat.

In 2018, she won the election with 78% of the vote and easily beat a crowded field in the primary.

"Right now, lots of money in the bank, a very very strong DFL district that she has won well, she doesn't look vulnerable," said Political Analyst and Professor David Schultz.

Democratic State Senator Ron Latz of St. Louis Park, who has been sharply critical of Omar, declined to be interviewed for this story but tells WCCO he will not run against her.

Omar, for now, has been able to channel criticism into support -- and not just in donations.

When President Trump visited a Burnsville factory in April, demonstrators divided into two camps: pro-Trump and pro-Ilhan Omar.

WCCO also reached out to Democratic Party Chair Ken Martin, but a spokesperson said he is traveling and unable to comment.

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