Ilhan Omar faces centrist rival; open House seat in Vermont

Aug 8, 2022, 9:17 PM | Updated: 10:04 pm
FILE - Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks to reporters during a news conference at the Capitol in Was...

FILE - Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks to reporters during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Nov. 30, 2021. Omar faces a Democratic primary challenger who helped defeat a voter referendum to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the biggest stars of the left, is facing a challenge from the center in her congressional primary in Minnesota on Tuesday, while Vermont Democrats will choose a nominee for an open U.S. House seat who will likely make history as the first woman representing the state in Congress.

Another key race is unfolding in western Wisconsin, where Democratic Rep. Ron Kind ‘s retirement after 26 years in office opens up a House seat in a district that has been trending Republican. Among the candidates running in the Republican primary to replace Kind is a former Navy SEAL who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, which preceded the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Minnesota is also holding a special election to fill the remaining months of Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn ‘s term after his death earlier this year from cancer. And voters will be picking nominees for a full term representing the largely rural, Republican-leaning district.

Some of the top elections:

OMAR FACES PRO-POLICE CHALLENGER

A supporter of the “defund the police” movement, Omar is facing a Democratic primary challenge in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District from a former Minneapolis City Council member who has made rising crime an issue in the race.

Don Samuels’ north Minneapolis base suffers from more violent crime than other parts of the city, and the moderate Democrat helped defeat a ballot question that sought to replace the city police department with a new public safety unit.

Omar has defended calls to redirect public safety funding more into community-based programs.

Samuels and others also successfully sued the city to force it to meet minimum police staffing levels called for in Minneapolis’ charter. Samuels says Omar, one of the leading voices in the national progressive movement, is divisive. He’s attracted big bucks to his campaign, though Omar as the incumbent has a significant cash advantage.

Omar, who crushed a similar primary challenge two years ago from a well-funded but lesser-known opponent than Samuels, has said she expects to win easily.

Two other members of the progressive Squad in Congress — Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri — won their Democratic primaries last week.

SPECIAL ELECTION AND PRIMARY ELECTION IN MINNESOTA

Voters in the 1st Congressional District in southern Minnesota will be weighing in on two races related to the seat.

In the special election, voters will choose between Republican Brad Finstad, who served in the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Trump administration, and Democrat Jeff Ettinger, a former chief executive at Hormel Foods. Both won a May 24 special primary election for Hagedorn’s seat, and Tuesday’s winner will serve until January.

Finstad and Ettinger are also running in their parties’ primaries for a full term in the district, which includes Rochester and Mankato. Ettinger faces mostly token opposition, but Finstad is expecting a strong challenge from state Rep. Jeremy Munson, whom he just narrowly defeated in the special election primary.

Munson has the support of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. He has said he doesn’t think President Joe Biden’s victory was legitimate, despite federal and state election officials, courts and Trump’s own attorney general saying there was no credible evidence the election was tainted.

WISCONSIN: REPLACING RON KIND

Republicans see a pickup opportunity in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, the seat being vacated by Democratic incumbent Kind.

The district covers a swath of counties along Wisconsin’s western border with Minnesota and includes La Cross and Eau Claire. Republican Derrick Van Orden is running unopposed in his primary Tuesday and has Trump’s endorsement.

Van Orden narrowly lost to Kind in the 2020 general election. He attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House but has said he never stepped foot on the grounds of the Capitol during the insurrection.

Four Democrats are competing to succeed Kind, including state Sen. Brad Pfaff, who previously worked for the retiring lawmaker and briefly served as state agriculture secretary. Pfaff has Kind’s endorsement.

The others are small-business owner Rebecca Cooke, retired CIA officer Deb McGrath and La Crosse City Council member Mark Neumann.

RARE VERMONT OPEN SENATE SEAT SPARKS HEATED HOUSE PRIMARY

The retirement of Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Senate’s longest-serving member, has opened the door for Vermont to elect its first-ever female member of the state’s congressional delegation.

Rep. Peter Welch, who currently holds Vermont’s lone House seat, is running to replace Leahy. The race to succeed Welch has largely centered around two Democratic women.

Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, a centrist who is a former staffer for Welch and has been backed by Leahy and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, is squaring off against Becca Balint, the president pro tempore of the state Senate. Balint has endorsements from progressive leaders, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The winner immediately becomes the favorite in November’s general election — and could shape whether Vermont’s congressional politics going forward is dominated by Leahy’s largely centrist views or the progressive values more closely aligned with Sanders.

___

Associated Press writers Doug Glass in Minneapolis, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis., and Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vt., contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Anti-Japan protesters on disputed islands march near the Japanese Consulate General in Shang...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: What’s behind strained China-Japan relations

TOKYO (AP) — Japan and China on Thursday mark the 50th anniversary of the 1972 normalization of their ties, but there isn’t much of a celebratory mood. Improved ties between Asia’s two biggest economies are considered vital to the region’s stability and prosperity, but they remain at odds over disputed East China Sea islands and […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Pollution from Florida mining a concern with Hurricane Ian

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The polluted leftovers of Florida’s phosphate fertilizer mining industry, more than 1 billion tons in “stacks” that resemble enormous ponds, are at risk for leaks or other contamination when Hurricane Ian comes ashore in the state, environmental groups say. Florida has 24 such phosphogypsum stacks, most of them concentrated in […]
23 hours ago
This GOES-East GeoCcolor satellite image taken at 10:10 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, and pr...
Associated Press

Hurricane Ian nears Florida coast, threatening floods, winds

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida residents rushed to board up their homes, stash precious belongings on upper floors and flee from oncoming Hurricane Ian, fearing the monstrous storm that knocked out power to all of Cuba and left 11 million people without power would slam into their state’s west coast with catastrophic winds and […]
23 hours ago
FILE - The angel Moroni statue atop the Salt Lake Temple is silhouetted against a cloud-covered sky...
Associated Press

Churches defend clergy loophole in child sex abuse reporting

It was a frigid Sunday evening at the Catholic Newman Center in Salt Lake City when the priest warned parishioners who had gathered after Mass that their right to private confessions was in jeopardy. A new law would break that sacred bond, the priest said, and directed the parishioners to sign a one-page form letter […]
23 hours ago
This photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Sirhan Sir...
Associated Press

RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan challenges his parole denial

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, is asking a judge on Wednesday to free him from prison by reversing California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s denial of his parole earlier this year. Sirhan shot Kennedy moments after the U.S. senator from New York claimed victory in California’s pivotal […]
23 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Ilhan Omar faces centrist rival; open House seat in Vermont