MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - No stranger to the residents of Minneapolis, Don Samuels has announced he is running for Minnesota’s fifth district – a Congressional seat currently held strongly by national figure Ilhan Omar. The former Minneapolis City Council member and Minneapolis Public Schools school board director, Samuels will seek the DFL ticket in primaries this August.
According to the announcement, Samuels has "established a growing coalition of supporters, including former state DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez and former Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.
"The stakes have never been higher. Our city, our nation, and our world are threatened by devastating economic disparities, the catastrophic effects of climate change, and a sustained attack on democracy here at home and abroad. While Rep. Omar and I share similar views on many issues, I believe this moment calls for a different approach to leadership - one that seeks to build a united coalition able to achieve greater progress for everyone," said Samuels in a statement.
Samuels' campaign spokesman is Lee Hayes, who also ran Antone Melton-Meaux's unsuccessful bid to unseat Omar in 2020.
Omar won that race by 20 points, underscoring the tough road ahead for any challenger in a race that will no doubt be one of the most expensive in the country.
"While Rep. Omar described ‘defund the police’ as a ‘policy demand,’ I share the view of Democrats like former President Barack Obama who believe the slogan created unnecessary alienation at a time when progress on police accountability was most needed. Unfortunately, my opponent’s rigid ideology extended even to Capitol safety, where she was one of only three Democrats to join House Republicans in voting against a bill to increase funding for security in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt," Samuels said in the announcement.
In the fall of 2020, Samuels and his wife Sondra, both North Minneapolis residents, sued the City of Minneapolis under claims that it was falling short on Minneapolis Police Department staffing levels required in its own city charter.
"We have made the emotional appeal," Samuels said at the time. "We have demonstrated the statistical uptick and now this is the legal action we are exercising because it seems as if the City Council cannot hear us and doesn’t feel what we feel."
Last summer Samuels’ again sued the city to change the wording on the controversial November ballot question to residents that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety.