If she wins in November, as expected, Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born ex-refugee, is currently on track to become the first Somali-American and female Muslim member of the U.S House of Representatives.
Omar would bring a progressive voice to the Democratic Caucus. She was endorsed by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and several major Democratic organizations such as MoveOn.org, Our Revolution and Women Winning
The 35-year-old lawmaker won the Democratic primary in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District this week. She could replace U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who decided to run for state attorney general. Ellison is presently facing accusations of abuse from a former girlfriend, which he has denied.
In 2016, she became the first Somali-American ever elected to the state house, the same year that President Donald Trump won the presidency.
“I think my job now is to instill hope in people so that they have the strength to continue to resist and to continue to believe that there is an opportunity for us, for the first time, to really talk about the kind of nation we should be and the kind of nation that we deserve,” she said.
This election cycle has seen a historic number of black women running for office around the country. In Alabama, for example, more Black women than ever are running for political office following the surprise win of Democratic Senator Doug Jones in the deeply Conservative state. Black women played a significant role in securing his win.