MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - After a 2022 election night loss to Rep. Ilhan Omar, Don Samuels plans to challenge her again. Sunday, the former Minneapolis city council and school board member announced his candidacy for the 5th Congressional District’s seat in congress.
Samuels says he’ll be a healing force to bring the community together in a divisive and difficult time; promising to be a more vulnerable and open leader.
"That’s all it takes. I was on the right path, it’s going to be more of the same, working hard or working better. My team is the same. I have the same campaign manager, the same vendor team," Samuels said.
Once again, Samuels’ campaign is also leaning into the issue of law and order, "She inflamed and emboldened the criminal community," Samuels said. "We felt the repercussions here." Samuels did of Omar.
"Her values are inconsistent, her policies are weak, and her support in congress is nonexistent. Locally, she has her finger on the wrong post, and she’s out of touch with the needs of her constituents," Samuels finished.
Samuels lost the 2022 election by less than 2,500 votes with a campaign Schultz was critical of. Shultz saying he didn't think Samuels took the race seriously. Two years later, Hamline University political science professor David Schultz believes he now has a better shot to win.
"He’s got, I would say, at least a 50-50 if not a greater than 50% chance of being able to beat her," Professor Schultz said. "There are republicans, a lot of republicans in that congressional district, who I think would feel potentially comfortable in supporting him over Ilhan Omar. I think she should be pretty worried at this point."
"Her outright criticism of Israel and her support of Palestinians in the past is also going to be an issue that perhaps motivates many voters at this point when it looks like across the country there is more support for Israel than there is for the Palestinians although clearly, clearly there is support for Palestinians and concern about Israeli overreach," Schultz added.
Omar’s office sent FOX 9 this statement on Sunday:
"I’m incredibly proud of the model of cogovernance we’ve built in the 5th District, which has included monthly town halls, routine constituent service resource fairs and a brand new district office. I’ve brought over $40 million to the district in the form of community projects—including a brand new affordable housing facility for veterans in Robbinsdale that I toured this weekend. As a leader of the House Budget Committee and Progressive Caucus, I’ve continued to fight for the progressive values Minnesotans sent me to advocate for—whether it’s fighting to codify Roe v. Wade into law, pushing for historic climate legislation, addressing the opioid crisis or fighting for an assault weapons ban. Together we’ve been able to achieve a lot, including a landmark public safety bill I negotiated to secure major investments in local departments and real accountability, the biggest effort to fight climate change in the history of the country and historic funding to feed over 30 million kids during the pandemic.
"Right-wing donors have targeted me since I first entered public life, so I am not surprised that my challenger previously received contributions from Harlan Crow, the same far-right billionaire who bankrolled Clarence Thomas. Nor am I surprised that he took $350,000 from AIPAC’s super-PAC—a Super PAC funded by Donald Trump’s largest donors like Paul Singer. If we’re going to stop Donald Trump, we need record turnout, and I am confident in our ability to drive turnout, particularly in a presidential election year."