Omar, Frey spar after close call in Tuesday's primary

Things are not good between Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the city's representative in Congress, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Omar survived Tuesday night's primary by 2,500 votes over former Minneapolis city council member Don Samuels, whom Frey endorsed. But the sparring continued after the votes were counted, when Frey said the results should serve as a wake-up call to Omar.

"It’s not just about sending out vitriolic tweets and being mean spirited. It’s about working with people," Frey told FOX 9 at Samuels' watch party. "Nobody’s asking anybody to shift their beliefs or shift what they believe in. But shift at least to be able to work with other people on top issues as opposed to making it about yourself."

A day later, Omar fired back in a tweet.

"Our incompetent Mayor gets upset when we talk about his failures, but as the Mayor he is solely in charge of our city, it’s police & public safety," Omar said. "No matter how much media covers for him, people know our city is suffering because of his poor leadership and childish behavior."

Few expected the race between Omar and Samuels to be so close. Omar had won the 2020 Democratic primary by 35,000 votes despite her challenger, Antone Melton-Meaux, outraising her seven to one in the months leading up to the election.

Frey saved his most vocal criticism of Omar until after the votes had been cast in Tuesday's primary. He endorsed Samuels last Thursday in a written statement, and the two held one event together before the primary.

Frey and Samuels have been allies against Omar before. The two opposed the 2021 ballot question that would have stripped the Minneapolis Police Department from the city charter and replaced it with a safety agency tasked with taking a public health approach to crime.

Omar was a strong supporter of the ballot question. She encouraged people to vote for Frey's two challengers in last fall's mayoral race.

The 2021 ballot question -- and public safety in general -- dominated the Omar-Samuels primary. At a town hall last week, Omar was sharply critical of Frey.

"If you continue to neglect your job, your city will rot," she said. "And we are now dealing with the repercussions of what happens when you have a leader who does not take his job seriously."

Just before the polls closed Tuesday, Omar continued her criticism, calling on Frey and the City Council to "provide adequate safety" for city residents.

Frey bristled at the criticism.

"Wait a second. Congresswoman Omar is telling us that we need to be providing adequate safety?" Frey said in an interview. "This is the person who literally called out to defund and get rid of police. This is the person who said defunding police was a policy decision and doubled down on it again and again and again. I heard it first-hand repeatedly."

Frey and Omar have never faced each other head-to-head on the ballot.