Ilhan Omar defeated 22-term incumbent Phyllis Kahn for the DFL nomination to represent legislative district 60B in the Minnesota House. It was one of the biggest stories to emerge from our August 9 primary. The Star Tribune reported it in a page-one story under a banndr headline and a huge photo. Omar seemed to have a sense of herself as the party’s new star. That’s certainly how the Star Tribune has treated her as it followed up with two stories on how she pulled off her primary victory.
The following Friday I posted my findings in the story of Ilhan Omar’s multiple marriages. I held the story pending a response to my inquiries from the Omar campaign. Her second marriage — the one to her lawful husband, whom she has not gotten around to divorcing since he returned to the United Kingdom some five years ago — may have taken place for dishonest purposes. According to now deleted post at the SomaliSpot site, her second husband is her brother. When I asked campaign officials about the SomaliSpot post, I received a nonresponse response from Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Jean Brandl.
The Star Tribune’s Patrick Coolican got on the case the following week. He called me for a statement that Tuesday afternoon. He told me the second husband was her lawful husband. I asked him who he is. “They won’t tell me,” he responded. He indicated that the campaign had declined his request for an interview either of Omar or her first husband.
By midweek the Omar campaign had brought in the nationally known Democratic operative Ben Goldfarb to perform triage on the Omar campaign. On Wednesday evening last week the Omar campaign produced a statement declaring her first husband — the one identified on her campaign website, the father of her three children, the one with whom she never got around to filing a marriage license — the love of her life. Although the statement was riddled with holes, Goldfarb or someone like him had carefully scripted it to put the story to bed. The love-of-her-life husband, however, is not the guy to whom she is married.
Coolican is not the only local reporter to have covered the Omar story. KARE 11’s John Croman filed a report. KMSP 9’s Tom Lyden filed a report. Minnesota Public Radio is aware of the story, and has provided some background on it, but has essentially maintained radio silence on its own reportage. At Alpha News Preya Samsundar has distinguished herself as the most dogged reporter on the case.
These reporters all have one thing in common: Omar has refused to talk to them. Lyden captured Omar on camera twice refusing his requests; she cited her statement as the last word. That’s what she means it to be.
Since my first post on this story on August 12, I have followed up with several posts, most of them linked in Brian Lambert’s August 18 MinnPost column on the story. Lambert also quotes my responses to his questions on the story. All my posts (including the one with Omar’s statement) are accessible here.
As is obvious from the text of his column, Lambert writes from a left-wing perspective that is hostile to Power Line. Lambert, however, fairly presents my interest in the story: “[I]t’s worth noting that the primary news element in the Omar story wasn’t who she married — or didn’t marry, or even when — but rather the question of gaming the immigration system.” In my opinion, it remains an open question.
The Omar story has ground to a halt. That too is how she means it to be. I may be mistaken — and I want to emphasize that — but it seems to me that Ilhan Omar’s handling of this story by itself so far makes out circumstantial evidence suggesting that Omar is covering up something of legitimate public interest, or that she thinks the Minnesota media are patsies, or both.
NOTE: Below is a screenshot of the August 10 Star Tribune page 1 above the fold. I can’t figure out how to get the whole thing, but this gives you a pretty good idea of the magnitude of the story in the Twin Cities.