Ilhan Omar Barely Survives Primary Challenge from Pro-Police Democrat

Rep. Ilhan Omar barely survived her primary race against a pro-police Democrat and other takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries.


Rep. Ilhan Omar barely survived her primary race against a pro-police Democrat on an otherwise promising primary night for progressives in Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut, and Wisconsin.

  • Omar, a prominent member of “The Squad” of far-left House members, narrowly defeated centrist Minneapolis city councilman Don Samuels 50%-48% in a race defined by Omar’s support for the “defund the police” movement.
  • Across the state border, progressive Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes won the Democratic primary to face G.O.P. Senator Ron Johnson in Wisconsin’s pivotal Senate race. Johnson’s team quickly shared a photo of Barnes holding up an “Abolish ICE” shirt.
  • In Vermont, state Senate President Becca Balint won the Democratic primary for the Blue Mountain State’s lone House seat with the support of progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders. Balint will likely become Vermont’s first female and openly gay member of Congress.
  • On the Republican side, Trump-endorsed construction magnate Tim Michels defeated former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch in the G.O.P. primary for Governor of Wisconsin. Michels will face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in November.
  • Meanwhile, Wisconsin Speaker of the House Robin Vos, the Badger State’s most powerful Republican, narrowly survived a Trump-backed primary challenge. Vos refused Trump’s demands to overturn Biden’s 2020 win in the state, calling his scheme “unconstitutional.”
  • In Minnesota, physician and former state lawmaker Scott Jensen won the G.O.P. nomination for Governor, setting the stage for a competitive general election against Democratic Gov. Tim Walz.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times noted Washington Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler conceded last week’s Republican primary to Trump-backed challenger Joe Kent on Tuesday. Herrera Beutler failed to advance to the general election after voting to impeach Trump for his role in the Capitol riot.
  • CNN’s election takeaways highlighted “the fall” of the Republican establishment in Wisconsin. Former Gov. Scott Walker and Mike Pence both backed Kleefisch, but their support was insufficient to overcome Donald Trump’s support for failed 2004 Senate candidate Tim Michels.
  • POLITICO wrote Democrats are “betting on progressives” to retain control of the Senate. Lieutenant governors Mandela Barnes of Wisconsin and John Fetterman of Pennsylvania are the party’s nominees for Senate in Democrats’ best pickup opportunities of the cycle. Both men are among the most left-wing nominees either party has ever run statewide in either state.



  • FOX News argued Tim Michels’ victory in Wisconsin is a sign that “Trump’s grip over [the] G.O.P. remains firm.” Michels’ primary win marks the second consecutive victory for Trump in his proxy war with Mike Pence after a Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate defeated another Pence-backed candidate in last week’s Arizona Republican primary.
  • The Washington Examiner covered Wisconsin Speaker Robin Vos’s victory against a “Trump purge effort” in Wisconsin’s primary. Vos acknowledged that “things happened in the 2020 election that need to be corrected” but refused to “decertify” the 2020 results at Trump’s urging.
  • Breitbart highlighted the victory of Trump-backed Leora Levy over moderate state lawmaker Themis Klarides in the Connecticut G.O.P. primary for Senate. Levy earned a last-minute endorsement over Trump that likely propelled her to victory over Klarides, who was backed by the state Republican Party.


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© Dominic Moore, 2022