Rep. Ilhan Omar will have a Democratic primary challenger, who plans to run against defunding the police.
“In this difficult era we are currently in, I’ve seen our community having a real need for a different kind of leadership, a leadership that is more connected with community,” Mr. Samuels, 72, told the CBS affiliate.
Mr. Samuels, whom WCCO characterized as a “public safety advocate” who has opposed defunding the police, said Ms. Omar’s style as a fiery member of the nationally prominent “Squad” of far-left lawmakers prevents her from doing anything for the district.
The two are “both Democrats, but very often you wouldn’t know it. When you build an infrastructure of contrarian divisiveness, even when you have good ideas, you can’t get it passed because you don’t have friends,” Mr. Samuels told WCCO. “The difference between us is that I have a collaborative style, demonstrated here, living in the most combative neighborhood in the city.”
Mr. Samuels opposed a ballot proposal last fall — indeed, he sued in an effort to stop it even going before the voters — that would have replaced the Minneapolis Police Department with a “Department of Public Safety.”
Ms. Omar supported the proposal, which the voters rejected.
“I saw a void that we were, my community was experiencing trauma and we need representation to reflect our needs. That we need police, we need good police and we need adequate amounts of police,” Mr. Samuels said.
“Our current Congressperson thought we didn’t need police. And that alienated a big part of the city, certainly the Northside community, and I think the votes prove that,” he said.
Crime is on the rise in the Minneapolis area and public safety is expected to be a major issue for voters, WCCO reported.
Ms. Omar had a primary challenger in 2020 also, a political newcomer named Antone Melton-Meaux. He was able to raise millions nationwide off Ms. Omar’s name but lost the primary by 20 percentage points.
Whoever gets the Democratic nomination will be heavily favored in the strongly Democratic district, which covers the city of Minneapolis and some of its suburbs.