A political newcomer outraised Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar sevenfold in the latest quarter of his primary campaign to unseat the controversial congresswoman in Minneapolis.
Antone Melton-Meaux, an attorney, raised $3.2 million between March and April to fund his race to snatch the Democratic nomination away from Omar. Melton-Meaux reported having $2 million in cash on hand to keep him afloat ahead of the Aug. 11 primary. Omar did not fare as well as her competitor when it came to fundraising.
Omar raised just $471,624 in the same time frame, roughly one-seventh of Melton-Meaux’s haul. The congresswoman’s campaign told the Star Tribune that she has $1.1 million in cash on hand.
Melton-Meaux’s surge in fundraising was driven in part by fundraisers held by pro-Israel groups, such as NORPAC, who have been concerned about Omar’s outspoken criticisms of Israel and perceived anti-Semitic remarks she has made since taking office. Melton-Meaux also raked in a lot of cash from outside of the district.
“We started at a time when people really believed we had no shot at this. We were told by most that we couldn’t do it. Our strategy has been really simple, being honest and transparent and going right to the public with a message that may be kind of cultural right now, and that is that people want leadership that shows up,” he said.
Omar’s Deputy Communications Director Isi Kirshner-Breen said her team is not concerned about Melton-Meaux’s fundraising haul and believes that his support is not strong within the district.
“Rep. Omar has been fighting for big structural changes to address systematic inequalities in education, health, environment, and the economy at home and across the nation. That’s why Wall Street and GOP donors are threatened by her,” Kirshner-Breen said. “Our campaign is about organizing people. That’s what progressives do. And organized people will always beat organized money.”
The race has driven donations across the aisle, as well. Republican-endorsed candidate Lacy Johnson raised $1.1 million in the first quarter of 2020.
Omar was first elected in 2018. She is one of four members of the Squad of freshman Democratic congresswomen, along with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley.
Author: Madison Dibble
Source: Washington Examiner: Democratic challenger raises 7 times as much money in primary race against Ilhan Omar