Samuels To Challenge U.S. Rep. Omar in 5th District Primary
Former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels has announced plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar for the Democratic nomination in 2024.
Omar serves the Fifth Congressional District, which includes Golden Valley, New Hope, Robbinsdale and Crystal, among other cities.
The rematch comes after Samuels came close to defeating Omar in the primary in 2022.
“I lost by a mere two percent the last time after just less than five months of campaigning,” Samuels told CCX News on Monday. “The country is still kind of being torn apart by divisiveness of all kinds … democracy is kind of getting a little difficult and divisive.”
He’s running again for 2024, but is giving himself more time to campaign.
“We were on an incline of growth, and if we had another few weeks, we could have won the election,” Samuels said. “So instead of tacking on a few weeks, we’re tacking on a few months.”
He said he aims to be a moderating voice that can bring communities together.
“I want to demonstrate that I’m someone who can bridge the gaps,” Samuels said. “I think anybody who ascends to leadership needs to serve all constituents and consider all voices and make compromises.”
Samuels said one of his main priorities is public safety.
“In the suburbs, people are still being carjacked,” he said. “I’m going to Congress to help to support the recruitment of police. Police who are fair, just and decent people. And to make sure that we keep our cops when we get them in the district. And so whatever funding I can secure for that, and then of course policies to improve policing.”
He has also questioned Omar’s conduct while in office.
“She has a legacy, a negative legacy with the Jewish community and she hasn’t been able to heal that,” Samuels said. “And she doesn’t do constituent service, she hasn’t been able to improve that.”
Response from Rep. Omar
Omar responded to Samuels’ campaign restart announcement in a statement below:
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.”
Meanwhile, Samuels is one of four candidates, including Omar, that are vying for the Democratic nomination in 2024. He hopes his moderate perspective will sway voters to his side.
“I’m going to Washington not to make a point, but to make a difference,” he said. “Everybody is going to Washington to make a point. And it doesn’t matter if they don’t get anything done, because they socked it to those guys. I told them. We don’t need someone to go to Washington to go tell them for us. We want someone to go represent us.”