The editorial board of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN-05) hometown newspaper, The Star Tribune, endorsed her primary rival Antone Melton-Meaux Wednesday.
The board explained that they came to support Melton-Meaux after reviewing and interviewing both candidates extensively, stating that the candidate has “strong progressive values that align well with the district.”
The editorial goes on to characterize Melton-Meaux as “pragmatic” and a “mediator,” whereas they characterize Omar as “divisive” and “controversial.” According to their editorial board, Omar’s temperament holds her back from initiating change on behalf of Fifth District’s interests, unlike Melton-Meaux.
“There are many ways to fight for change, few of them easy when tackling entrenched systems and interests. Omar says she will ‘fight hard for big ideas.’ But the point of the fight, after all, is the change. And that often requires the ability to forge alliances and persuade.”
The Tribune observed the core difference between Omar and Melton-Meaux is their polar perspectives and objectives. They applauded Melton-Meaux’s tendency to err on the side of localized interests and needs, and criticized the national top-down approaches touted by Omar for legislation on police and healthcare.
“While Omar wants to lead a movement, Melton-Meaux seeks to serve the Fifth District.”
The Tribune also addressed the DFL’s recent FEC complaint against Melton-Meaux, citing his campaign’s press release explaining the necessity of “shadow” companies to protect companies from Democratic Party blacklists.
Omar never issued a direct response to the article. Instead, she retweeted other users’ posts of articles in defense of her campaign and track record. One of Omar’s first indirect retweet responses was a counter-editorial from The Tribune, published the same day by Minneapolis City Council member Andrea Jenkins.
Jenkins’s editorial called Omar a “[courageous] public servant”, rebutting nearly every criticism made by the editorial board and claiming a fundamentally different perspective of what district voters want. Rather than dismissing the claims of Omar’s divisiveness, the city council member praises her for it.
“Ilhan isn’t the kind of person who sees the battle between right and wrong, justice and injustice, and immediately says ‘how can we compromise between these things?’ No, she’s someone who puts her voice in the air and her body on the line and says, ‘I will not be satisfied until this broken world is made whole!'”
On Friday, Melton-Meaux issued a response to the editorial via Twitter:
“I’m proud to be endorsed by the Star Tribune and former DFL leaders in #MN05. In Congress, I’ll be a progressive who gets things done — without ethical distractions. There’s still time to vote before this Tuesday, August 11th!”
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Minnesota Sun and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Antone Melton-Meaux” by Anonte for Congress. Background Photo “Star News Tribune Endorsement” by Star News Tribune.