ilhan omar

Ilhan Omar/Twitter

Ilhan Omar wins Minnesota 5th, becomes Congress’ second Muslim-American woman

Omar is the first Somali-American elected to Congress.


Ellen Ioanes


Posted on Nov 6, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 2:16 am CDT

Ilhan Omar won Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district to become the first Somali-American and—along with Rashida Tlaib in Michigan—one of the first Muslim woman in the U.S. Congress.

Minnesota Election Results: Ilhan Omar Wins Minnesota’s 5th

Omar was born in Somalia; her family left in the midst of that country’s civil war and settled in Minneapolis after four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. Minneapolis has one of the largest Somali diaspora communities in the United States. The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, where Omar grew up, is often called “Little Mogadishu,” nicknamed after the Somali capital.

The race was first called for Omar by Decision Desk HQ.

In 2016, Omar became the first Somali-American in the Minneapolis House of Representatives, and the first Somali-American legislator in the United States. In the House of Representatives, Omar served as the Assistant Minority Leader and served on the Civil Law and Data Practices Policy, Higher Education, and Career Readiness committees.

Omar faced scrutiny during her campaign; some questioned her immigration and marital status, others her use of campaign funds.

She ran on a platform that included Medicare for all, debt-free college, immigration, and criminal justice reform, fair and affordable housing, reducing military engagement and spending, gun legislation reform, and fighting climate change.

Omar tweeted her support after the race was called.

Omar will take office in January 2019.

Share this article
*First Published: Nov 6, 2018, 8:59 pm CST