- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Rep. Ilhan Omar easily won her primary Tuesday, the latest “Squad” member expected to face a tough primary challenge who ended up crushing her opponent at the ballot box.

Ms. Omar’s easy win over Antone Melton-Meaux in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District demonstrated the vitality of the band of far-left Democratic freshmen — the others are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — who took Capitol Hill by storm in 2018.

“Despite all the manufactured hype and money spent attacking them, The Squad is winning, it’s growing, and is here to stay,” Justice Democrats, one of the PACs that backed their campaigns, tweeted in celebration of Ms. Omar’s victory in her Minneapolis district.

The competitive race had Ms. Omar fending off a well-funded opponent’s harsh criticism that the congresswoman’s celebrity status left her out of touch with the district.

The same charges were lodged equally unsuccessfully by primary challengers against Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Ms. Tlaib.

Ms. Omar won with 57.4% of the vote to Mr. Melton-Meaux’s 39.2%.

“Tonight, our movement didn’t just win. We earned a mandate for change. Despite outside efforts to defeat us, we once again broke turnout records,” Ms. Omar tweeted after the win. “Despite the attacks, our support has only grown.

“It’s about standing up to a president who promised to ban an entire group of people from this country based solely on their Muslim identity, calls our countries of origin ‘s–hole countries,’ and threatened to send us back to where we came from,” she added.

Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and have become stars among far-left activists, who say Democrats need to do more for the working class and that the party has become too beholden to corporate America.

Ms. Omar’s first term was marred by controversy over her comments jabbing pro-Israel advocacy groups and Jewish lawmakers for being loyal to Israel. The comments were widely deemed to be anti-Semitic.

Ms. Omar contended that her criticism was of the country’s government, not the Jewish state.

Still, she burnished a reputation on Capitol Hill for championing affordable housing, immigration reform, universal health care, and defunding of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and she helped pass a bill in the House that would block the president from implementing travel bans.

Ms. Omar, with the other Squad members, is locked in a feud with President Trump.

This month, Ms. Tlaib defeated Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones by an even larger margin than Ms. Omar scored against her challenger, 66.3% to 33.7%.

The last time Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Jones faced off, in 2018, Ms. Tlaib won by a razor-thin margin.

“Headlines said I was the most vulnerable member of the Squad,” Ms. Tlaib tweeted after her win. “My community responded last night and said our Squad is big. It includes all who believe we must show up for each other and prioritize people over profits. It’s here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, arguably the most famous of the four, faced challengers, but her chief rival was longtime CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. She came out on top with a whopping 74.6% of the vote.

Ms. Pressley is running unopposed.

But the success of the new liberal vanguard goes beyond 2018’s breakout stars.

Three senior Democrats have been toppled this year by younger, more liberal insurgent candidates in an AOC-esque takedown.

Most recently, Rep. Lacy Clay, a 20-year incumbent, lost to Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush in Missouri.

Ms. Bush is all but assured the House seat representing the heavily Democratic St. Louis district.

In Illinois, Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the few pro-life Democrats, lost his race to liberal challenger Marie Newman, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel was toppled by school principal Jamaal Bowman in New York.

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