Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are only a few days left in our critical Mid-Year Campaign and we truly might not make it without your help.
Please join us. If you rely on independent media, support Common Dreams today. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Ilhan Omar, a progressive Somal-American who is a former refugee, won her primary race in Minnesota's 5th congressional district on Tuesday. (Photo: @SamFathallah/Twitter)

Victory for Bold Progressive Ilhan Omar Puts Second Muslim Woman on Historic Path to Congress

Battling "the politics of fear and scarcity," Omar pledges to fight for Medicare for All and other reforms placing American families over corporate profits

Julia Conley

Following her victory in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Minnesota's reliably blue 5th congressional district, progressive former refugee Ilhan Omar is widely expected to become the first Somali-American member of the U.S. House this fall—18 years after escaping her home country's civil war.

Omar's victory follows that of Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American former state lawmaker in Michigan, who won her own Democratic primary in Michigan's 13th district earlier this month.

Omar beat out five opponents after campaigning on a progressive platform, speaking out in favor of Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and affordable housing as a right for all Americans.

Her economic agenda calls for strong protections against wage theft, a federal jobs guarantee, and investment in worker-owned cooperatives.

"We said our district was ready for a bold vision," Omar said in her victory speech Tuesday. "We said our district was ready for someone who had more courage and clarity to go to Washington. We said we were going to fight the politics of fear and scarcity...and make sure that not only we have the America we believe in but the America we deserve."

Omar won endorsements from the Sierra Club for her bold climate agenda demanding 100% renewable energy by 2035, as well as National Nurses United, Our Revolution, and a number of other progressive organizations.

"Ilhan Omar's victory joins a wave of primary wins for climate progressives," said 350 Action executive director May Boeve. "Her campaign is lifting up climate action and challenging Big Oil billionaires as part of a broad platform for justice. Minnesotans deserve a representative in Congress who's willing to fight against dangerous fossil fuel projects like Line 3 and support the transition to a 100 percent renewable energy economy that puts millions of Americans to work."

The state legislator and community organizer also gained attention from voters for her personal story of escaping Somalia with her family when she was eight years old. The family spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to the United States, where they settled in Minneapolis.

"If the eight-year-old me knew about an Ilhan who was in a refugee camp at eight and became a state representative, that would have given me a lot more hopes and a lot more things to look forward to," Omar said in a campaign video. "And I think my win is really so much more for those eight-year-olds than it is for me."

Omar's win was one of a number of progressive victories on Tuesday night, including that of Randy Bryce, who is running to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in Wisconsin's 1st congressional district and Christine Hallquist, who became the first transgender nominee of a major political party for governor after winning her Democratic primary in Vermont.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Flint Residents 'Disgusted' After Court Throws Out Indictments of Top Officials

"It has become increasingly clear that the judicial system is not a viable option for a poor majority Black community facing injustice," said Flint Rising.

Jessica Corbett ·

Sanders, Fetterman Urge Buttigieg to Fine Airlines Over Flight Cancellations

"The American people are sick of airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute, and delaying flights for hours on end," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

In Blow to Voting Rights, SCOTUS Saves Louisiana's Racially Rigged Electoral Map

"Black Louisianans deserve fair representation. The fight for racial justice and equality is far from over," vowed one civil rights group.

Brett Wilkins ·

Watching US With Horror, European Groups Push Leaders to Strengthen Abortion Rights

"This is an important moment for leaders across Europe who are committed to reproductive rights to lead by example and galvanize action in their own countries," said one campaigner.

Jake Johnson ·

Women Face Chaos, Torment as Abortion Clinics Shutter Across US

Clinic workers are attempting to get patients appointments out-of-state while women stockpile emergency contraception, fearing overcrowded clinics even in states that protect reproductive rights.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo