The editorial board for the largest newspaper in Minnesota threw its support behind Rep. Ilhan Omar’s opponent.
The Star Tribune published an opinion piece Wednesday titled “Fifth District endorsement: Melton-Meaux, for integrity and progress,” which outlined its support for Antone Melton-Meaux over incumbent candidate Omar.
“After careful consideration and interviews with both, the Star Tribune Editorial Board recommends Melton-Meaux, a first-time candidate with strong progressive values that align well with the district, as well as consensus-building skills honed as a professional mediator,” the piece read.
The board went on to argue that Melton-Meaux, who calls himself “a lifelong progressive Democrat,” would better represent citizens within the Minneapolis district on issues such as healthcare and criminal justice.
“Whether it’s health care, criminal justice or affordable housing, Melton-Meaux appears progressive, but pragmatic. While Omar wants to lead a movement, Melton-Meaux seeks to serve the Fifth District,” the paper said.
The editorial board also warned that Omar has overemphasized her victories in Congress since she was elected in 2018.
“As she did in the Minnesota House, Omar risks overstating her legislative wins. She notes that she has co-sponsored more than 500 bills. That’s about average for Democrats in the Minnesota delegation. Omar did succeed in getting school meals included in COVID-19 relief, an achievement worth noting,” the board wrote.
“Omar’s 2018 victory launched her into the national spotlight as the first Muslim woman and first refugee elected to Congress. But her time has been marred by missteps, including remarks on Israel widely regarded as anti-Semitic, an outsized number of missed votes, and campaign-finance issues,” the paper continued. “Interestingly, the DFL Party has chosen to make an issue of Melton-Meaux’s finances, filing a late complaint that his campaign used ‘shadow’ companies for his bid, a step the campaign told supporters was necessary because the Democratic Party blacklists companies that work for the challenger to an incumbent.”
Omar, who is Muslim, has repeatedly been accused of anti-Semitism since her political rise. Just last month, Vice News reported that a mailer sent by Omar’s reelection campaign accused Melton-Meaux of being “in the pocket of Wall Street” and only mentioned Jewish donors.
“My immediate thought when I saw the mailer was, ‘Here we go again.’ This had both implicit and explicit anti-Semitic tropes,” Rabbi Avi Olitzky of the Beth El Synagogue in Minneapolis told the outlet.
The board concluded in its endorsement, “Melton-Meaux fully grasps the needs of the diverse constituency he hopes to represent, and, if given a chance, is the kind of leader who could unite a fractured district.”
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