In a primary election that saw Minneapolis give its highest primary election turnout in almost 50 years, Minnesota finalized its candidates for the general elections in November.
5th Congressional District
Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, won the DFL primary election for the 5th Congressional District by racking up over 48 percent of the vote on Tuesday. A victory in the general election in November would make her the first refugee to be elected to the U.S. Congress, according to her campaign's press release.
Omar left her seat as state representative for Minnesota House District 60B to run for the 5th Congressional District position, which was previously held by Keith Ellison, D-Minn. She first joined the state legislature in 2016, when she became the first elected Somali-American legislator in the country.
Maymuna Sahal, who campaigned for Omar, attended Omar primary night event and said she was ecstatic after the announcement.
“[Omar] has showed what America is. After Donald Trump was elected, I was super sad. But this night made it up to [me],” Sahal said.
Former Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher came in second place with over 30 percent of the vote and Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, came in third with 13 percent of the vote, reports from late Tuesday show.
Campaign workers credit Omar’s victory to her ability to mobilize young voters and students.
“Students are only motivated to vote if they have a candidate that inspires them, and we saw that in [Omar],” said Sonia Neculescu, a worker on Omar’s campaign.
At a forum in the University’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs on Monday, Omar joined Kelliher and Torres Ray in ardently addressing how they would like to relieve student debt burdens.
Citing her personal experience with student debt, Omar said she would mitigate it at the federal level.
Receiving around 56 percent of the Republican primary vote, Jennifer Zielinski will move on as Omar's opponent in November's election. With nearly all precincts reporting, Omar received over 65,000 votes and Zielinski received over 8,600 votes.
In a tightly-contested race, Minnesota House 60B candidate Mohamud Noor won the district over Peter Wagenius.
Noor declared himself the victor while down 2 percent as the district containing the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood had yet to report its results. In the final tally, Noor received over 2,900 votes — winning by around 900 votes over Wagenius.
The announcement of his victory sparked mass celebration at Noor’s primary night party at Cedar-Riverside's Mixed Blood Theatre.
Isse Mohamed, who worked on Noor’s campaign, said he was “all smiles” as the results came in.
“As soon as we’re done with this, it’s time to go to sleep and [then] get to work. We don’t have to wait until November,” Noor said.
Mohamed Bulhan, a campaign worker for Noor, said he felt a lot of voter enthusiasm during the primary.
“This season, the fever is high. People really want to vote, I think that’s related to the national politics and what’s going on in Washington. I think that really has an impact on Minnesotans’ perspectives and their attitudes,” Bulhan said.
Noor said he hopes to be involved in the University's ongoing presidential search if he wins the seat.
“I don’t want to be left out,” he said.
Noor’s Campaign Manager Nick Espinosa said Noor is a “beloved” figure in the Cedar-Riverside community.
“We knew that Noor has a lot of support in this community, across the entire community. But especially here in the heart of the Somali community,” he said.
He added that with the victory Noor joins other Somali leaders, like Omar, who had success Tuesday night. Hodan Hassan won the 62A DFL primary, making her the second Somali-American woman elected to a state legislator if elected in November.
“This election is really solidifying a progressive majority of elected officials from the Somali community,” Espinosa said.
Noor ran for the Ward 6 City Council seat in November, which he lost to Abdi Warsame. In 2016, he ran against Omar for the 60B seat.
“I’m excited. I’m just waiting for the final jubilation to make sure we really focus on bringing this district together. That’s really important to me because this is where I live, myself,” Noor said.
Noor will face Joseph Patino in the November election. Patino received 190 votes in the 60B Republican primary.