Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Democrat challenger has far outraised the incumbent Minnesota lawmaker, Fox News reports.
First-time candidate Antone Melton-Meaux’s campaign coffers are much larger than Omar’s, according to election campaign contribution records.
Melton-Meaux, a lawyer and mediator, raised $3.2 million during the April-June quarter of fundraising, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. During the same time frame, Omar brought in nearly half-a-million dollars.
At the of June, Melton-Meaux reported having $2 million in his campaign chest, which was nearly double of Omar’s reported $1.1 million cash on hand.
Omar is one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. She is part of a group of progressive first-term congresswomen known as “The Squad.” She recently received endorsements from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Bernie Sanders. In Minnesota, she has the backing of state House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Attorney General Keith Ellison.
But she has faced criticism, too. Last year, she apologized for making comments viewed as anti-Semitic.
The campaign contribution dollars show her challenger for the primary election has a fan base, too.
Former Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor (DFL) Party Chairman Mike Erlandson told Fox News that Melton-Meaux is a “very strong candidate.”
“He has a very compelling story, just as congresswoman has a very compelling story. I think that has brought people into his camp, in addition to a number of people not being too excited about their current congresswoman,” Erlandson said.
During the first quarter, he raised about $210,000. Since then, his donations have soared. Filings indicate that donations came from outside of the district with some from conservative donors and pro-Israel groups.
Neil Sroka, a Democrat strategist and communications director for the progressive group Democracy for America, which is backing Omar – told Fox News that “while right-wing interests funneling millions into her opponent's campaign are willing to do anything and say anything to stop her, we're confident that voters in Minnesota's 5th District will stand with Rep. Ilhan Omar in this primary just as she's always stood with them.”
A recent internal poll released by Omar’s campaign indicates she has a large double-digit lead.
But Erlandson said he thinks “the race is much closer than that. The numbers that have been shared with me from some other private polls show the race within striking distance for Antone. He’s run a strong campaign.”
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