Today’s Star Tribune carries yet another story celebrating this past Tuesday’s primary victory of Somali American Ilhan Omar over 22-term incumbent Phyllis Kahn for the DFL nomination to represent District 60B in the state legislature. How did she do it? “Ilhan Omar dominated among students, rival’s analysis show.”
In “Ilhan Omar: Her back pages” we raised the question whether Omar married her brother in 2009 for dishonest purposes. If so, she may have committed bigamy as well as participated in immigration fraud of one kind or another. Whether she did or not is certainly a matter of legitimate public interest with respect to a politician seeking higher office. If I didn’t have it right, I didn’t want to write about it. I still don’t.
Posing the relevant questions to the Omar campaign — both its campaign manager and its press spokesman — we received a response on Omar’s behalf from a criminal defense attorney. Now I should think that is newsworthy all by itself.
Yet the response was also newsworthy for what it said, or rather didn’t say. It didn’t deny any relevant fact. Rather, it falsely disparaged my motives as bigoted. I find that disgusting.
This is the response of the Omar campaign to my questions provided by Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Jean Brandl:
There are people who do not want an East African, Muslim woman elected to office and who will follow Donald Trump’s playbook to prevent it. Ilhan Omar’s campaign sees your superfluous contentions as one more in a series of attempts to discredit her candidacy.
Ilhan Omar’s campaign will not be distracted by negative forces and will continue to focus its energy on creating positive engagement with community members to make the district and state more prosperous and equitable for everyone.
If the Star Tribune were to ask any of the questions I posed to the Omar campaign, it would not receive — dare I say it? — such a “superfluous” response. Will the Star Tribune ask the question? That is my question of the day.