State Rep. Ilhan Omar, a newcomer to the political scene, won the Democratic primary Tuesday for the Minneapolis-area Fifth District congressional seat, CNN reports.
Omar is a Somalian refugee who could become the first Somali-American in Congress in November. With an inclusive message, she defeated four other Democratic candidates in a crowded race to fill the seat that opened up when Rep. Keith Ellison announced his bid to become the state’s attorney general.
Ellison also beat out a number of opponents to secure the party’s nomination for the Democratic primary for Minnesota attorney general on Tuesday but may face an uphill battle with recent emotional and physical abuse allegations from a former girlfriend surfacing.
Ellison denied the allegation of physical abuse. A spokesman for his campaign also denied the congressman had sent threatening text messages.
Omar is confident that she will win.
“We’re going to Washington,” Omar said at her victory party in south Minneapolis.
Omar escaped her war-torn homeland of Somalia as a child and grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp before immigrating to the United States as a preteen. She learned English by watching American television, reports CNN.
Years later, she became the nation’s first and only Somali-American lawmaker when she won a seat in the Minnesota House.
Following Tuesday’s win, Omar outlined her vision moving forward.
“We believe that together — together we can organize around the politics of hope and make sure that not only do we have the America we believe in, but the America we deserve.”