With Omar overcoming her primary challenge, all four liberal freshmen are expected to be re-elected in the autumn given the overwhelmingly Democratic character of their districts.
U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, on Tuesday, became the fourth and final member of the progressive "Squad" to bag a victory in the primaries. The 37-year-old won the Democratic primary in her congressional district with 57.2% of the vote against Antone Melton-Meaux, an attorney who runs a mediation practice. With Omar overcoming her primary challenge, all four liberal freshmen are expected to be re-elected in the autumn given the overwhelmingly Democratic character of their districts. Their victory also comes as vindication for Justice Democrats, the left-wing group that recruited Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as part of its project of electing more progressive Democrats.
According to Reuters, Representative Ocasio-Cortez of New York was the first in the Squad to bag a victory this election cycle, dispatching a primary challenger in June. Then came Representative Rashida Tlaib — who won her primary last week — and Omar. The fourth Squad member, Representative Ayanna Pressley, is running unopposed in her primary in Massachusetts next month and the general election in November. "Despite all the manufactured hype and money spent attacking them, the Squad is winning, it's growing, and is here to stay," Justice Democrats executive director Alexandra Rojas said in a statement, reports HuffPost.
The Working Families Party, which spent nearly $100,000 on super PACs to reelect Tlaib and Omar, shared a similar message with the group's national director Maurice Mitchell, saying: "Conservative Democrats just took swings at three progressive women of color, and they are zero for three." Melton-Meaux — a first-time candidate for elected office — had managed to raise a substantial amount of money in his bid to take on his opponent but it failed to make much of a difference in the end as the race was called in Omar's favor less than 90 minutes after polls closed.
I want folks to recognize how big of a triumph @IlhanMN’s victory represents.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 12, 2020
Tens of millions in big money was targeted to unseat 3 of us as “safe” Dems - almost unheard of.
This is what happens you deeply challenge systems of power and corruption. But the people triumphed. https://t.co/adVnV6wGGR
According to CNN, Melton-Meaux had accused Omar of prioritizing her celebrity over her constituents, focusing his campaign on questioning her national profile and whether it has distracted her from the job. "We don't need another celebrity. We don't need dividers. We need people that are going to work and unite us to challenge and take hold of these problems that we face as a community," he said in an interview, after suggesting that Omar had engaged "unnecessarily" in "Twitter fights" with Trump. Responding to his comments about her being divisive, Omar called back to all the times the President has taken swings at the Squad.
"We are facing a president who explicitly targets me and other women of color regularly. When the President says me and other women of color should be 'sent back' to where we came from -- that is language many immigrants and marginalized people have heard for decades to silence us and make us feel like we don't have a voice," she said. "Standing up to Donald Trump is not division. It is standing up for every community that has been targeted by a xenophobic and hate-filled bully that happens to live in the White House."
Rep. Ilhan Omar won Minnesota’s Democratic primary in a final win for the “Squad.” pic.twitter.com/DPiyOsleGF— HuffPost (@HuffPost) August 12, 2020
Celebrating her win on Twitter, Omar wrote: In Minnesota, we know that organized people will always beat organized money. Tonight, our movement didn’t just win. We earned a mandate for change. Despite outside efforts to defeat us, we once again broke turnout records. Despite the attacks, our support has only grown. This election isn’t about me. It’s about an agenda rooted in people’s everyday struggles—and the corporations and rightwing donors who are threatened by it. It’s about standing up to a President who promised to ban an entire group of people from this country based solely on their Muslim identity, calls our countries of origin ‘shithole countries,’ and threatened to send us back to where we came from. It’s about standing up for the basic human rights around the world—and fighting a military-industrial complex that opposes the recognition of people’s humanity and dignity, she added.
Come through Congresswoman with vision, purpose, and a resounding mandate from the people.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) August 12, 2020
Send her back to Congress is right.
This movement is powerful 💜 https://t.co/Av4HObyAzo
The question in the next Congress will be whether the Squad will come into its own within the Congressional Progressive Caucus as a subgroup capable of leveraging its votes as a bloc. If the four-member crew does choose to go that route, they look likely to have at least two additional Squadmates on their side: Cori Bush of Missouri and Jamaal Bowman of New York, who unseated veteran incumbents this year after running on similar ideological platforms.