Somali-American Ilhan Omar is comfortably leading the race to the US congress in a contest where she’s ahead of her competitor in more than half of the votes cast.
Omar, a 36-year-old Somali refugee who immigrated to the United States as a teenager, beat Republican Jennifer Zielinski to take Ellison’s seat, which he vacated to run for Minnesota attorney general.
The district, covering Minneapolis and some surrounding suburbs, is deep blue, so Omar was expected to be elected to the House in November. The voters elected Ellison for six terms before he sought the attorney general’s office.
Ilhan tweeted, “It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve you in the congress.”
She joins Rashida Tlaib to become the first Muslims to win the congressional seats at a time when several reports indicate that anti-Muslim campaign rhetorics was rife in several states and campaign gatherings.
Published on Monday by the Muslim Advocates civil rights group, “Running on Hate” the report documented 80 instances of “clear anti-Muslim rhetoric” employed by political candidates in 2017 and 2018, adding that 64 percent of the candidates held office before or enjoyed a presidential endorsement.