I attended the Fifth District DFL special convention called on Sunday afternoon to endorse a candidate to succeed incumbent Rep. Keith Ellison, who now seeks the office of Minnesota Attorney General. Like Minneapolis, which makes up its heart, the Fifth District is predominantly Democratic. It’s one party territory. In convention assembled, the delegates turn to the leftward most viable candidate. That is how Ellison secured the nomination to succeed 14-term incumbent Rep. Martin Sabo when he stood down in 2006.
The two serious candidates contending for the endorsement at the convention (there are two more who skipped the convention) were first-term state representative Ilhan Omar and three-term state senator Patricia Torres Ray. Omar is a Somali refugee; Torres Ray is a Colombian immigrant. Each argued for herself in terms of her identity; Ray also talked about her work in the legislature. As a Somali Muslim woman of the Bernie Bro left, Omar held the trump cards.
The third candidate seeking the convention’s endorsement — Frank Drake — was Ellison’s Republican opponent in 2016. Perhaps understandably, he did not go down smoothly with the delegates, but he did provide badly needed comic relief.
Torres Ray entered as the underdog and left as the also-ran. I liked her personally. Her supporters turned out in force and in uniform, but Omar is where it’s at with Fifth District activists. Omar dominated the first ballot and won the endorsement on the second ballot.
Each of the candidates made a five-minute speech appealing for the convention’s endorsement. Omar has perfected the verbal fog of leftist platitudes and socialist aspirations. Her lecturing and hectoring grate. Although the United States provided her refuge and accommodated her success, she is a fount of complaints and ingratitude. She called twice for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Elsewhere, she has established herself as a genuine Israel hater. I have seen the future, I thought to myself, and it’s jerks.
No one raised any question about Omar’s curious marital history. It is a history that seems to implicate some kind of fraud. Omar remains confident that she is immune to conventional scrutiny. As the contest now moves to the August 14 primary, one wonders if the media — local or national — will seek answers to the questions on which Omar has so far shut the door.