A Minneapolis attorney launched a primary challenge against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) this week, making him the second Democrat seeking to oust the polarizing congresswoman.
“I was lucky to grow up in the middle class,” said Antone Melton-Meaux in a press release announcing his campaign. “My parents both worked hard to provide for my sisters and me. My dad was an engineer and my mom worked to find affordable homes for those in need. They taught me the values of community, faith, and hard work – and to create the kinds of opportunities I had, for others.”
Melton-Meaux said his life has been “dedicated to public service and a strong commitment to community.” He owns a mediation practice in Minneapolis and serves as a volunteer minister for Salem English Lutheran Church.
“Throughout my life, I have always answered the call to serve others,” he said. “Whether representing youth living in foster care, providing free legal services to federal inmates seeking constitutional protections, or advocating for people who had been denied fair housing, I have always lived my values through action.”
Melton-Meaux’s background could appeal to the more moderate factions of the DFL. He published an op-ed in The Star Tribune in 2015 criticizing Black Lives Matter as a departure from “what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. described as the powerful and just weapon of nonviolence.”
“As a black man living in Minnesota, even with the vestiges of racism in America, I cannot understand why anyone would defend such hate-filled statements targeted to incite violence against police officers, as occurred during the recent protest at the Minnesota State Fair,” he wrote in his op-ed. “As black people, we cannot expect others to view our lives as having meaning if we embrace a message of hurtful stereotypes and violence.”
On his campaign website, Melton-Meaux promotes the issues of “affordable housing, quality health care, and good schools for our communities” as his top priorities.
“I am so grateful to wake up every morning right here in Minnesota—my wife and I are raising our children in Minneapolis and we love this community,” he said. “But we also see the challenges ahead. I want to work to create for our District the kinds of opportunities I’ve been so fortunate to enjoy throughout my life. Most importantly, as your next congressperson, I am and always will be focused on the Fifth.”
Community organizer John Mason said in October that he plans to challenge Omar in the Democratic primary for Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District. Mason said in a recent statement that he’s running for Congress to “rebuild the Obama coalition.”
I’m running for Congress to create a more inclusive&united America, rebuild the Obama Coalition, and advocate on the issues you care most about.
✅ Our Democracy
I’m the CHANGE needed in MN 5th! https://t.co/wXx1sWxfLk
— John Mason (@JohnMasonMN) November 29, 2019
The primary election is scheduled for August 11, 2020.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Antone Melton-Meaux” by Antone Melton-Meaux. Photo “Ilhan Omar” by Ilhan Omar.