Notes on the Fifth District race

Late Thursday one of Tucker Carlson’s producers invited me to come on the show this past Friday night to talk about Ilhan Omar’s campaign spending in the impending primary election. The invitation gave me all day Friday to study up. Having caught up with much of the recent news on the primary race, I want to offer a few notes on a race that merits national interest.

Minnesota’s Fifth District includes Minneapolis and inner-ring suburbs including Richfield, St. Louis Park, and Golden Valley. Martin Sabo represented the district for fourteen terms through 2006. Sabo was a traditional Scandinavian DFLer who sought to anoint his similarly inclined chief of staff as his successor. Presenting himself as the leftward-most viable candidate to the Fifth DFL convention that spring, however, Keith Ellison won the DFL endorsement and went on to win the primary with a plurality of the vote that August.

I told the story just before Ellison’s election to Congress in “Louis Farrakhan’s first congressman.” I added the companion Power Line column “Keith Ellison for dummies” (i.e., for Star Tribune reporters and other members of the press).

When Ellison stepped aside to run for attorney general on the day before the filing deadline in 2018, the path was clear for one-term state representative Ilhan Omar to succeed him. She had become an international superstar of the hate-America left upon her ascendancy in 2018.

Although one might say she had not lived a life that anticipated the close scrutiny that comes with a public career, it didn’t matter. Attending the special Fifth District endorsing convention on June 17, 2018, I saw that Omar’s support came from the heart of the DFL’s millennial hate-America base. She perfectly represents it.

The Fifth District is at least a D+26 district. Whoever wins the DFL primary on August 11, I am sorry to say, will win election to Congress on election day in November. DFL voters in the Fifth District nevertheless extend beyond the district’s millennial fruitcakes and Omar has attracted a substantial opponent in attorney Antone Melton-Meaux.

Melton-Meaux mimics Omar on most issues, but he is not a hater. The market to oppose Omar’s rancid hatred is large. In the second quarter, Melton-Meaux raised over $4 million. In the closing days of the campaign he has more than $700,000 cash on hand.

The Republican candidate who will oppose the winner of the DFL primary is Lacy Johnson. Lacy is a tremendous candidate trapped in a bad district. Even Lacy has raised an incredible amount of money for the race, more than $4.2 million. He has just over $850,000 cash on hand. I hope he uses the money to make the devastating case that is to be made against Omar. However, this is not a winnable race for a Republican.

Which brings us back to Omar. She is the heavy favorite to win the primary. She has been a cash cow since her election to Congress in 2018, raising more than $4.2 million, also with over $700,000 cash on hand.

Here’s the beauty part. This past March Omar married her political consultant and fundraiser, Tim Mynett. Mynett is Omar husband number 3. Together they have a financial partnership made in heaven. As Omar funnels campaign funds to Mynett’s E Street Group consulting firm — some $1.6 million to date — Mynett’s firm charges for its consulting services and takes a commission on all the advertising the firm places on Omar’s behalf.

Although campaign funds can’t go directly to Omar, some substantial fraction of Omar’s campaign spending now ends up in the couple’s joint checking account. The scale of it is unprecedented and gross. Brooks Jackson could write a new chapter on it for his classic Honest Graft.

And yet, even with her celebrity and all the rest, Melton-Meaux has vastly outraised Omar down the stretch. In the second quarter, Melton-Meaux raised $3.2 million to Omar’s $471,000. Even in the Fifth District alone, Melton-Meaux outraised Omar in the second quarter — $273,000 to $8,000. Indeed, Nancy Pelosi just chipped in $14,000 to Omar’s campaign. It must make for interesting dinner table conversation around the table at home.

Omar needs to be defeated from within the Democratic Party. A few prominent Minnesota DFLers have come out against Omar. Former United States Attorney Andrew Luger, for example, is supporting Melton-Meaux.

It was Luger, by the way, who saved Omar’s political career with a letter to Omar’s attorney in August 2016 stating, contrary to Tom Lyden’s report on the local FOX station, that Omar was not under investigation. When I asked Luger about the letter last year, he responded: “I will pass on this.” Please see “Loose threads in the curious case(4).” It’s an incredible story.

The abdication of the Star Tribune is perhaps the most notable element of this whole matter. The paper’s most read story of 2019 documented the deep fraudulence and dishonesty on which Omar’s career is predicated, yet the Star Tribune’s coverage of the primary race and related issues has been cursory at best. Minneapolis is at a tipping point and yet the paper’s editorial voice has remained silent on the madness in the DFL, of which Omar is the foremost proponent. The editors don’t want to be hated by Omar’s hateful fans. They want to be liked. Their cowardice is total.

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